Employers spend mere seconds scanning your resume before deciding to shortlist it for a potential interview or tossing it aside. We’ve seen a series of studies over the past few years using eye-tracking software and web analytics that confirm you have anywhere been 6 and 11 seconds to grab their attention.
The most recent report I saw clocked it at 7.4 seconds. You’ve toiled over, edited, and customized your resume, and it has roughly 7 seconds to make an impression.
This is largely because most employers don’t actually read resumes – at least not at the first pass. They scan them for the most relevant information: who you’ve worked for, key skills they need, where you’re located.
So, every one of those few seconds can be critical to your job search success. Here are a few ways you can get the most out of them.
Put your best stuff up top
Put your name, contact information, and a qualification summary highlighting your key skills and accomplishments in the top third of the page. Use powerful language in the “skills section” and make sure to include the skills listed in the job description.
Numbers speak louder than words in resumes, and accomplishments speak louder than adjectives. So, make some noise.
– Implemented a training program that caused a 75% increase in productivity.
– Increased traffic by 34% in three months.
– Managed a team of 7 people with zero turnover for 2 years.
– Beat sales quota by over 10% 3 years in a row.
Avoid large blocks of text
In a quick scan, it is harder to get information to stand out in long sentences and large paragraph blocks. Use bolded section headers, short sentences, and bullet points to draw a reader’s eye straight to the information you most want them to see.
Like This Incorporated – (2019 – Present)
- and essential skills used
List your work experience in reverse chronological order. Briefly describe the role, and then bullet point your key differentiators:
Make sure to highlight especially those that are most relevant to the job you are seeking.
If you can have enough eye-catching material clearly highlighted in your resume, you stand a much better chance of getting passed the initial 7-second scan and being shortlisted for further scrutiny – and hopefully a job interview.