You’ve most likely spent a lot of time working on your resume. Painstakingly going over every detail, checking for spelling and grammar, and making it look just right. That’s a lot of time invested in your resume, and on average a recruiter or hiring manager only spends six seconds reading a resume.
Seems crazy right? Well, a company out of New York called The Ladders, did a research project with a number of recruiters, using eye-tracking technology.
They wanted to find out what recruiters were looking at when they reviewed resumes, and one of the things they found is that the average review time is only around six seconds. So how come recruiters and hiring managers only need six seconds to review a resume?
Well it all comes down to specifically what they’re looking for.
When we look at the eye-tracking from the study, we can see exactly where the recruiters and hiring managers are looking.
They start with your name. Then they move straight to the company you worked for and the position you held there. Immediately after that is the previous company that you worked for and your title. Followed by the dates that you worked for those organizations and lastly your education.
So what does this path across your resume tell us?
Well it says recruiters and hiring managers focus more on the places you’ve worked rather than you and your skills.
This seems unfair right? Your resume is supposed to be about what you can do.
That is correct, but what we need to remember is that recruiters and hiring managers are reviewing stacks of resumes every day. They don’t have time to go through every resume in great detail, and if you don’t have the information they’re looking for clearly laid out, after those first six seconds, they’re moving on to the next candidate. But the question remains, why focus on the organizations?
They need a common denominator. Something tangible, something they know that they can then compare. If the company is well known, say Nike, Procter and Gamble, Apple, that kind of thing. Then a recruiter immediately knows the company size, the revenues, the type of role you would have there. But if you work for a company that they aren’t familiar with and you haven’t provided the relevant information than they have nothing to compare it against.
And that’s the key to all this. Familiarity. For your resume to have the best chance of getting past the six second mark, a recruiter needs to become familiar with the organizations you’ve worked for right away.
So, what are we going to do to impress in only six seconds?
We want to make the recruiters familiar with your resume as quickly as possible.
And how we do that is by outlining the details of the organizations that you’ve worked for. Quantifying the business they’re in, the revenues and how many employees they have.
This is important as it gives recruiters context for the types of environments that you’ve worked in and now they can quickly assess if they should continue reading.
When writing your resume, you need to remember that structure and clearly outlining key information is more important than formatting and picking fonts.
If important details aren’t there or easy to find, anyone reading your resume isn’t going to care about how good it looks.
Make it as easy as possible for anyone looking at our resume to find what they need quickly and efficiently and you will have a resume that will impress in six seconds or less.