Recruiters spend an average of six seconds looking at each resume that crosses their desk and New Zealanders are making silly errors that are costing them their dream jobs.

US recruitment firm The Ladders uncovered the surprising statistic in a study using eye-tracking technology to find out about recruiters' techniques when looking at resumes.


Five rules for resumes:
* Use a clear and logical layout and font.

* Make your personal statement at the beginning of the resume.

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* Use the first two pages of the resume to highlight key skills and experience.

* If you're including a photo, make sure it's appropriate.

* Don't stretch the truth -- be honest.

Emily Wheeldon, who has 15 years' experience in recruitment agencies in New Zealand and overseas, said she had seen hopeful job candidates ruin their six-second shot at a job with poor spelling and inappropriate information.

"Your resume is your first shot at really expressing your capabilities to a potential employer. If you don't get it right, you're going to miss that opportunity."

Including a photo of a bunch of friends drinking on a Saturday isn't going to help, she said.

"Personally, I like to see a photo of a person on a resume because when I'm reading about that person it brings them to life."

But she added: "We don't want to see you with your mates out on a Saturday night or you standing there with a bottle of beer. Selfie photos are for Facebook and such like -- they're not for resumes."

Common CV blunders:
* Spelling mistakes.

* Unattractive format and layout.

* Confessing to hobbies like drinking with mates.

* Including useless information.

* Too long.

Ms Wheeldon said a common mistake on resumes was listing irrelevant and unhelpful hobbies and interests.

"If you've got a recruiter's attention, they are going to read your whole resume, so don't put something silly like drinking with my mates," she said.

"One of our pet hates as recruiters was, under hobbies, 'socialising with my mates and shopping'. If you haven't got any interesting hobbies, then just don't put them in there. You'd only put that in there if you had something useful to say."

Ms Wheeldon said another hiccup, which wasn't necessarily a deal-breaker, was using inappropriate email addresses, like blue-eyes@hotmail.com or ilovecats@gmail.com.

A resume over two or three pages was too long, she said.

"I think the longest resume I've seen is 16 pages. These long resumes come from the more mature workforce."

Applying for a job using a resume entirely in Comic Sans font or in italics was also on her "don't" list.

"Unfortunately if you make something really difficult to read, they lose interest."

A new trend of clever and creative CVs for positions in marketing and media could sometimes work, Ms Wheeldon said, but only if the candidate had the skills to back up their application.

Tom O'Neil, executive director of CV.co.nz, said people needed to think more about treating their resume as a sales document rather than a list of work experience.

"People need to consider that the first person to read their CV is usually someone from a recruitment firm or the HR department -- they don't know the ins and outs of the role."