As a sophomore, I’m starting to worry about my career now. Trying to get an internship as a sophomore AND an international student is painfully hard, especially after you spend hours working on your resume then realize that recruiters only spend 6 seconds reading it. Wait a second, 6 seconds?

The average reader’s reading speed is around 250 words per minute. With that speed, in 6 seconds you can only read 25 words in total!! Although you can complete speed-reading training  to make your reading speed faster, it is still impossible to read through an entire resume in that amount of time. Let’s cross our fingers and hope that we get a resume reader with a higher reading speed. But how do people become faster readers, and what affects people’s reading speed? If you are curious about it, I think this blog will help you to understand it better.

First of all, education level matters. The higher your degree is, the faster you read.  This is because those who have well-developed reading skills tend to get a higher degree, since reading is not a problem for them. Getting into college and doing the reading assignments also help people improve their reading skills. Those who don’t have the reading skills tend to attend vocational schools to focus on the object instead of its description.

Second, your interest matters. For me, reading The Girl On the Train only takes me the four days of mid-term recess, but I never finished reading the review notes for my Business class. People tend to be more motivated to read through an article if they are naturally interested in it.

People tend to be more motivated to read through an article if they are naturally interested in it.

Most interestingly, how the text is displayed also affects our reading speed! If the text displayed on the screen has high dioptric blurs, which are blurs that are caused by refraction of light, it is very likely to slow down one’s reading speed. And if you have a lower vision than average and you are reading without your glasses, a larger font might help you to increase your reading speed.

Thus, if you want the recruiter to read faster and learn more from your resume, you can hope that the recruiter has a high degree, a true interest in his/her job (and probably in reading resumes) and a high-resolution screen to display your resume. If you don’t care much about resume, you have another excuse for not finishing your reading assignment on time: “Hey professor! I am not interested in this topic and the pdf you uploaded is too blurry for me to read. Such factors slow me down and prevent me from finishing it!” (I am not responsible for the outcome of such actions if you are curious.)

For my next blog, I will expand one of the ideas I mentioned in this article, speed reading. Stay tuned. :)


  1. Chmykhova Ekaterina V., Davydov Denis G., Lavrova Tatiana P., The Factors of the Reading Speed: an Experimental Study, The Psychology of Learning, 2014, 9 pp 26-36.
  2. Thorn, Frank and Thron Sondra, Television Captions For Hearing-Impaired People: a Study of Key Factors that Affect Reading Performance, Human Factors, 1996, 38 (3), 452-463