- Nearly half of senior managers are impressed by candidates who connect with their employees on social media, Accountemps survey results released Jan. 8 found. Candidates also benefit when they make themselves accessible online through portfolios or personal websites — but there are limits.
- Fifty-eight percent of managers said it's helpful to receive cover letters, and 4 in 10 said they may favor candidates who highlight accomplishments using infographics. Managers' least favorite candidate strategies included using Bitmojis or caricatures and colorful fonts or backgrounds on application documents.
- "A strategic job search requires much more than putting together a polished resume," Michael Steinitz, Accountemps' executive director, said in a media release. "In addition to learning about candidates' skills and experience, employers want to see a strong online presence and passion for their work."
Accountemps' findings — especially around infographics — makes sense given hiring managers scan application materials for only about seven seconds, according to a 2018 eye-tracking study by Ladders Inc. The resumes that attracted recruiters' attention in that study had simple layouts, clearly defined headings and sections and bold titles and bulleted text for fast and easy reviewing.
Of course, the content of application materials is important, too. Even though employers call out application materials with exaggerated credentials and achievements, a study by U.K.-based TribePad found that 88% of job applicants polled admitted puffing up their resumes to survive automated screening. This phenomenon raises employer concerns about whether automation — which is designed to speed up and streamline the recruiting process — is lowering the quality of hires at the same time.
As for the cover letter that managers in the Accountemps' survey said they still value, some experts debate its relevance in today's job market. Some point out the cover letter may slow down the highly automated recruiting process and therefore no longer serves as a brief introduction of applicants and their abilities. While the cover letter's fate remains in limbo, Vicki Salemi, career expert for Monster, previously told HR Dive by email the document isn't dead and job-seekers can still expect many hiring managers to ask for one.