"Impressive. I love the formatting!" -- Tek L.
The 6 Second Rule: How to get your resume into the yes pile
There’s been a little research on how recruiters view resumes that shows that you get about 6 seconds before you’re tossed into the yes, no, or maybe pile. I hear a lot of disgruntlement about this point (and you’re completely allowed to be frustrated by it), but here’s the deal: when recruiters get 100+ resumes for a position that needed to be filled yesterday, we don’t have much choice…and if you’re going to apply to a job rather than relying solely on networking, this is the reality. So how do you deal?
First, you realize that the 6 second rule only covers the initial scan. Does this person have relevant experience? Are they at the right career level? Do they have the required degrees and certifications? Anything alarming? Are they worth further review?
This is not the final review. It’s not even close. BUT, you can’t get to the final review without first passing this test. These three tips will help you get into the yes pile.
A place for everything and everything in its place. If we have to hunt for the basics, chances are you’ll land in the no pile. While you want your resume to stand out from the rest, there is a standard format and order. You should start with your contact information, move on to summary, skills, and experience, and, unless you’re a recent grad, your education should go last (without relevant professional experience, highlight the education and put it after skills).
Negative space. Does your resume look like a book? Is it margin-to-margin words? A resume that’s written like a book has a needle-in-a-haystack effect on the eyes and we can’t see the important information. You want it to be more needle-on-an-empty-table. Avoid heavy paragraphs and opt for 1-2 line bullet notes where possible.
Put it on display. Please, please customize your resume for the position. Whatever experience is most relevant to the position should be listed first. If your bullet about an impressive accomplishment directly related to the position is in the middle/end of the chunk, it will almost certainly be missed.
These three tips are easy to implement and will help your resume get through the first 6 seconds of its battle. Once you’ve passed this, you can be assured that it will be carefully reviewed…so hopefully the rest of the content is good!