In a time when recruiters and hiring managers are getting inundated with applicants for job postings, one technique they quickly learn to master is the art of “skimming” resumes. They just don’t have time to read each resume word-for-word. Instead, they glance at it quickly and look for key info. If they don’t see what they need, you’re tossed.
You’ve Got Six Seconds
I was recently told the average recruiter spends about six seconds on a resume and then decides whether to keep reading, or toss it in the ‘no’ pile. Additionally, their eye works in a Z pattern, meaning left-to-right across the top of the resume, and then back down the left-hand side.
Top-Fold = Prime Real Estate
This means the top part of your resume is where all the action is. If you don’t, “Get them at Hello,” you won’t be moving on. So, here are a few tips:
- Don’t waste the top-fold with a long-winded, self-serving promotional paragraph. It won’t get read. Objective statements and overly salesy intros don’t work either.
- Create an “Experience Summary” that lists quantifiable skills and the key information required to even get a shot at the job.
- Don’t use a font smaller than 11 point or in a fancy style. Too hard on the eyes.
For a total breakdown of how to create a resume that will pass the six-second test, you can watch a video I did as part of our CAREEREALISM TV weekly Q&A show. It’s the very first episode on this page, just scroll to the bottom and you can watch it here: http://www.careerealism.com/careerealism-tv-archives/
Remember, Resumes Don’t Get You Hired!
Even if you create an effective resume, please don’t assume it will greatly improve your chances of getting a call from an online application. These days, 8 out 10 resumes aren’t even seen by human eyes. Most online applicants never get a shot at the job they apply to. Why? 80%+ of all jobs filled today can be attributed to referrals. Someone inside the organization refers the candidate that gets hired. Hiring a referral is a lot easier than going blurry-eyed reviewing hundreds of online applicants. Plus, the referral makes them more credible, as compared to an online applicant nobody has worked with.
You need to get your optimized resume in the hands of hiring managers. That usually happens when you know them, or know someone who knows them. It’s far less likely to happen when you blindly apply online and hope for the best.
A good resume needs to be used with a proactive job search strategy. All the formatting in the world won’t change the odds of it getting reviewed. The only thing that does is a referral!
By J. T. O’Donnell Founder & CEO of CAREEREALISM.com | Creator & Coach at CareerHMO.com | Syndicated Author | Columnist | Blogger | Speaker
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