The Ladders released some research in the past couple of weeks that focused on how a recruiter reads your resume. It was really good stuff for job seekers to pay attention to, but it was mostly sent to HR and Recruiter types who shrugged their shoulders and thought ‘Yeah, so.” Basically, what the study showed was that a recruiter really only spends about 6 seconds initially viewing your resume (that first screen)! For years the industry has used ten seconds as a staple, regardless, we knew it was a very short time.
The study also shows where a recruiter’s eyes focus while looking at your resume for six seconds. This is even more brilliant! I’ve first saw this technology used with the design of Facebook’s UI. They were able to see how people stared at their Facebook page to determine the best place for their ads. And you thought they just put them on the side to get them out of the way! It’s very scientific, and researchers use technology that will show a heat-map like image that indicates where you gaze the longest. On a Facebook page, on a resume, etc. It can used in a number of fashions to show where an individual focuses their attention.
So, in the six seconds a recruiter is looking at your resume, where do they look? Here are the main areas by emphasis:
1. First job listed – Current Position. That one you list, hopefully, right under your opening “Objective” header. A recruiter will immediately scan to that section as they quickly scan by your objective, and spend a little more time looking at the Job Title, Dates and opening sentence (so make it a good one!). They spend very little time on all those paragraphs and bullet points you put below that.
2. Next job listed – Previous Position. Okay, she is working here, and she use to work here. It’s that quick. They don’t care that you ‘totally re-processed’ the supply cabinet, and led the company in quarterly metrics, blah, blah, blah contests, are you still reading this, no one reads this far into your resume!
2. Education. From your first job listed (let’s be clear, it’s not your actual first job ever worked, but the first job you have listed on your resume) the recruiter will quickly move to Education. Why? Basically, they’ve determined you’re working, or have worked, in the right kind of job for what they are looking for, so now they want to know what kind of education you have.
That’s it. Your six seconds is over.
I just saved you $1000 on getting your resume professionally done. It’s not needed, unless you have my grammar skills, than you might want to invest. The reality of today’s recruiter, and even hiring managers, is that your resume will won’t get read until you get to the next level. This is actually an advantage to you if you know how to design your resume, using the data from the study!
All you really need is a USA Today style resume. Do you know why the USA Today is such a popular national newspaper? Because almost all of us are really stupid and lazy. We like big pictures, colors and bullet pointed lists. That is all the USA Today delivers in terms of news. No details, just the headlines and the sexy stuff. That is what your resume should be. At least on that initial first page.