60 or 6 seconds

June 3rd, 2022

Think you’ve got 60 seconds to impress the recruiter? Think again. According to recent research, recruiters spend approximately six seconds on each resume.

60 or 6 Seconds Test

Once you have submitted your resume, a very quick screening by a first-time reader will determine whether or not you are not you are a qualified candidate for the job. This could be the recruiter or hiring manager, but you have a window of approximately six to sixty seconds to grab your reader’s attention. Here are 6 points to focus on when editing your resume:

  1. Length

No one has the time to read 12 pages of a resume. Over the course of your long career, you have gained tons of experience and skills, but you have to condense your job history to allow readers to pick the areas that are relevant in a quick glance. If you are a recent college graduate or you have less than four years of experience, you should be able to fit your summary into one page. Once you are in excess of 10-15 years, you may want to give fewer details per job. It is really those final 3-8 years that determine if you are the right fit. The story of how you got where you are is important but save details for your interviewers. If they are curious about details, they will ask.

  1. Job Titles

Job titles and companies are usually the first places readers will look. If your title does not sound related to the position you are applying for, readers will quickly reject you. For candidates looking for career changes, this may be the most disappointing area. You need to come up with a different way of explaining why you are looking to make the switch.

  1. Professional Summary

The professional summary or executive summary section of a resume provides a brief overview of a candidate’s career accomplishments and qualifications before the employer reads any further. Your professional summary is one of the first places recruiters and employers look, and without the proper information, they may question your qualifications and move on to another candidate. Recruiters do not decide whether or not to interview candidates within 6 or 60 seconds, but they do eliminate candidates within this timeframe, making the professional summary so crucial. It should be placed right after your contact information on your resume. To define what to outline in your summary, research positions of interest, and compile a list of common requirements and qualifications. Evaluate your skills, talents, and qualifications. How does your background and experience line up with the job descriptions requirements? Choose the abilities, experiences, specialized knowledge, and achievements you wish to highlight in your professional summary. Your resume summary is one of your first and last chances to get an employer to stop quickly scanning through the bundle of resumes they have received and pay attention to you instead.

  1. Core Competencies

 You would think the person reviewing your job application should have a solid knowledge of your field and the role you are helping fill, right? Unfortunately, first reviews of your resume are more likely to be done by an applicant tracking system (ATS) and by junior-level recruiters or HR coordinators. To help you break through those early gatekeepers and get through an ATS resume check, it is important for your resume to include a series of key phrases and terms that sum up your skills. Just under your professional summary, throw in a few columns or rows of terms that will give readers a great idea of your areas of expertise. An easy way to find this information is by reviewing the job descriptions of positions that interest you and taking note of terms that regularly appear in those job listings.

  1. Career Highlights

If you’ve been in the workforce for 20 or more years, you may want to include a career highlights section instead of a regular resume format. This segment is typically placed right under your “Core Competencies” section, and right above your professional background and the companies, you have worked for. In it, you will list accomplishments that you feel are particularly noteworthy and relevant to the position you are seeking. It is a great way to prevent your resume from becoming too lengthy and for emphasizing the most significant aspects of your successful career.

  1. Format

Now that you have got your reader’s attention, you do not want to lose it to an awkward format. Large paragraphs are just too difficult to read. Overly lengthy sentences are another obstacle. Keep your sentences short and concise. Bullet points are great, but anything longer than 8-10 bullet points is going to get skipped. Ask yourself, “Is this easy to read?”.

Try it for yourself! Can you get the highlights of your resume in less than 6 seconds? Have family, friends, colleagues, and recruiters take a look. If you need some help getting started, reach out to us here at Rock my Resume. We are always happy to help improve your resume!

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