There was a great piece that just came out by Vivian Giang on a study done using heat mapping about what a recruiter focuses on in the 6 seconds they have your resume in front of them. **Please note, as was pointed out to me by a colleague, this artlicle was produced by the Ladders, they have motivation to make money off of their resume writing service, however their was still good reminders in there.
First of all let’s really think about what you can do in 6 seconds, I am not even sure I can get my coffee pot set in 6 seconds, but I do believe that is the average time I look at most resumes.
Here is what she says we are looking at:
In the short time that they spend with your resume, the study showed recruiters will look at your name, current title and company, current position start and end dates, previous title and company, previous position start and end dates, and education.
She goes on to point out that one resume seems to have been reviewed more thoroughly than the other because of its clear format.
What are we looking for:
- Name: are you someone we know or someone in our network, referral, etc…
- Current Title: Is this going to be a lateral move, a huge jump, a step back – basically are you over or under qualified
- Company: Is this a company with similar work ethic, training programs, type of work as the company we are hiring for? Is this company a target of our client or is it one we have been told to steer away from?
- Start/end dates: are you employable for a long period of time? Were you let go during a certain season or year that is common during the “downturn”
- Education: do you have any? Does it match the position you are applying? Is it better than those who are also applying for the position? Does it meet the requirements set by the company? Does it meet the requirements set by the recruiter/hiring manager?
How to improve:
- Name: be sure to have your contact info correct street address is not relevant, city/state, phone, email, LinkedIn profile, blog/website ARE
- Current Title: not much you can do other than make sure it matches what you were hired as and don’t deviate because it could mean falsification of documentation later on
- Company: can’t change it just be aware of the culture of your company and what the “community” opinions might be on the employees that work there. Examples: hard working, nose to the grind stone, mandatory OT, difficult supervisors OR over paid, only know how to do one job, not team players. Example of culture: Creative, fun, employee centric OR dictatorship, most direction comes from upper management, not a lot of input from employees. Please note: one is not better than the other and even if a company is “known” for certain attributes it does not mean that you have or carry those attributes no matter what they are, but you need to address who you are in your cover letter, phone interview and in all of your face to face interviews.
- Start and End Dates: There are different schools of thought on adding a reason for position end dates. I am for it. For instance: 1/10-3/12 relocation to NYC OR contract position. What this won’t help you with – things like excessive terminations, if it is one instance on your resume possibly, but if that is the reason you have ended every job you need to work with a career coach/life coach and start with a temp job or job in retail and regain your credibility (IF you are ready for it).
- Education: Don’t ever mislead us in to thinking you have a degree if you have only taken a few classes most of which you never finished. If you are a more recent grad you want to emphasis your education and academic works if you have been established in the workforce or academics are not as relevant in the position you are applying simply include the school you attended, degree received OR coursework pursued.
Recruiters are analytical, use experience, history and deductive reasoning to make decisions quickly. HELP US HELP YOU! Keep your information easy to read, less is more in most cases but I will caution that using only a few words to describe your position is not enough. Use quantitative and qualitative data to support the work that you have done and list out your major accomplishments or successes.