The Critical First Six Seconds in the Life of Your Resume

According to The Ladders research, most recruiters spend an average of six seconds looking at your resume before making the decision to continue to read or to toss your resume to the garbage pile.  Scary, huh?  It should be.

In that short window of time, it is critical that your resume convey the right first impression to ensure that it will have the opportunity to provide the balance of its relevant information.  Remember that old adage, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression?”  Well it appears to apply to your resume as well.

at we bring both marketing and recruiting expertise to bear in crafting your resume.  We understand what to do to make it work for you.  Recently a new client we work with rolled out a new resume and received calls on 3 of the first 5 job postings she responded to.  Contact us to start on your path to success today.

In the meantime, take a look at this.

So what will guarantee that your resume makes the right first impression in that critical first six seconds?  Here are the most important things to consider.

  1. Overall image and appearance.  Your resume should be neat, clean, and free from fancy formatting.  It should be presented in an easily readable type face and size.  It should have comfortable margins and enough well used white space to graphically emphasize the most important information.
  2. Contact Information.  Your name, address, cell phone number and email should be prominently displayed at the top of the resume.  Don’t make them look for it!
  3. LinkedIn Information.  Provide a link to your LinkedIn profile. They ARE going to look.  Make it easy for them.
  4. Education information and any relevant certifications should be easy to find.
  5. Key words that mirror the verbiage in the job description should jump off the page and into their view.
  6. Most important - Quantifiable achievements that are germane to the position that you are applying for.

It is challenging to get this balance right because it marries the practical and the aesthetic. Many people are not able to articulate what is or isn’t visually appealing, but they know it when they see it.  The best insurance to get it right is to work with a professional resume writer who has experience in recruiting and also a strong marketing and graphics orientation. You’ll get the right information present in the right way to guarantee that your resume will make the critical six second cut.

After you have made the critical six second cut, your resume should act like a marketing document designed with enough relevant matches to their needs to compel the reader to pick up the phone and call you.  Remember, that is the goal of a resume – to trigger a phone call.