by Amy Misenhimer
“6 seconds?!? Whaaat? I can’t even choose between a cab or a pinot in 6 seconds!” That’s what I thought to myself when I read the surprising results of the Ladder’s study. They found that it takes an average of 6 seconds for a recruiter to review your resume and decide whether or not you will make the initial cut. 6 seconds. What are they looking for? Recruiters look at (in order) your personal information, current company/position/start-end dates, previous company/position/start-end dates and education. You have 6 seconds to make the best impression on paper. Here are 4 tips that can keep your resume from falling into the “no” pile.
- Ditch the fancy formatting. I know, I know. You want to stand out from all the other super qualified candidates. You might be itching to add your headshot, cool graphics or bold colors. Don’t scratch that itch. Adding pictures or graphics can cause the recruiter to lose focus on the information they are searching for. Craft a traditional resume with conservative formatting to increase the readability of your resume.
- Use a professional email address. So, email@example.com, isn’t getting call-backs? Shocker? It shouldn’t be. What you attach to the front of your email address can cause a recruiter to pause and question your professionalism. In addition, having an Aol, Yahoo or Hotmail email address speaks directly to your technical proficiencies, or lack thereof. It’s time to retire the old email address and use a new email server. Make it simple and professional like Name@gmail.com. It won’t cost you a thing!
- Make sure your job titles stand out. How do you do that? Again, it’s about making your resume easy to read. Using the same font throughout will help accomplish that. To emphasize specific words, use bolds or italics. Make sure that your job title stands apart from the dates and cities by aligning them to the right. DON’T GO OVERBOARD!!
- Treat your education like your professional experience. You earned it. You paid for it. Perhaps you are still paying for it. Your education is important, but it should come after your professional experience and always in reverse chronological order. It’s not necessary to include your graduation dates or your GPA, but you can include your honors, smarty pants.
It’s tough out there! You’re up against the clock and often times at the mercy of the Applicant Tracking Systems. Implementing these 4 simple practices on your resume can help you clinch that well deserved call-back. You have the recruiter’s attention, make sure you’ve killed it in the body of your resume. You can find some additional suggestions on how to look your best on paper from a webinar recently hosted by Amy Misenhimer.