Conducting Your Own 6-Second Resume Scan




  • April 15, 2016

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    In a perfect world, recruiters would spend time carefully reviewing each section of your resume to see if you’re the right fit for an open position. In reality, they only spend about six seconds on their cursory glance to decide whether or not you make the cut. That means that you have very little time to make a positive impression and catch their attention to make them want to find out more about you.


    While there isn’t a perfect formula for ensuring your resume is read, you can do your own six-second review to make sure you’re hitting key points and leaving a strong impression. Here are a few things to look for:



    • Clear Format. Does your resume look cluttered and crammed with information, or is it clearly laid out in a way that has distinct sections and easily read points? Break your resume down into basic sections such as core competencies, professional experience, professional affiliations, and education. Employers will be able to quickly find what they’re looking for and know what they’re reading.
    • Strong Branding Message. Does your resume quickly show employers what type of role you are seeking or currently hold? Distinguish yourself as a Digital Marketing Director, Chief Operating Officer, Executive Assistant, or District Sales Manager right from the start so recruiters get a better idea of your experience level and where you’re headed.
    • Targeted Skills. Toward the top of your resume should be a list of key skills employers are looking for and that align with the positions you’re seeking. Not only does this quickly convey your abilities to employers, it also appeals to resume scanners. Make sure to include exact match keywords from the job opening.
    • Concise Education. Don’t waste space listing out your GPA or courses you’ve taken unless you are a recent graduate and it is truly relevant. Instead, focus on showing what degrees and certifications you have obtained and where you completed them.
    • Companies with Dates. Before a recruiter starts looking at what you’ve done, they’re going to check out where it was done and for how long. Keep things simple by just listing years instead of months and years. Don’t worry about the address of your employer – company name, city, and state is plenty. Make sure your job title is clearly listed too.
    • Contact Information. Include the email address and phone number you check most frequently. You don’t want to miss a job opportunity because it went into your junk account or is on your home answering machine that you never listen to. Also add a link to your LinkedIn profile to make it easier for recruiters to connect with the correct online profile.

    Once recruiters have skimmed through this information, they’ll check out a few of your accomplishments, so ensure they’re clearly stated toward the top of each position you’ve held. Think carefully about what would make the strongest impact and what you really want to highlight since you only have a brief opportunity to catch their attention.


    Does your resume line up with these key points, or does it leave something to be desired?

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