Why That Perfect Job Lasts Only 6 Seconds
Research proves you've got six seconds to impress a hiring manager! This post covers the research goals, findings and takeaways, the purpose of a résumé, six things that should go on it, and where to get more information.
The Ladders did an incredible study of the impact résumés had on 30 recruiters. As shown in the picture above, they studied eye scans to see where recruiters focused, before deciding if they should even continue with a candidate. You have only six seconds to make an impression! (See the full link below.)
The research investigated three primary issues:
- Did recruiters perceive [professionally-looking] résumés differently?
- How long did recruiters actually spend reviewing résumés?
- Where recruiters look, what information is most valuable, and what data they use to determine a candidate is a potential fit.
The findings provided specific data regarding the following:
- Details viewed
- Items that captured attention
- How long they were viewed
- How quickly eyes moved between items
- What was overlooked
We learned some key takeaways:
- "Recruiters spent about 6 seconds on their initial 'fit/no fit' decision"
- "Reviewers were clearly distracted by common visual features such as pictures"... they reduced hampered decision-making... [and] irrelevant data
such as candidates’ age, gender or race may have biased reviewers’ judgments.
- "Organized layout is crucial... [professional] résumés have a clear visual hierarchy and present relevant information where recruiters expect it, quickly [guiding] recruiters to a yes/no decision"
- "Professional résumés had less data, were evenly formatted and
were [40-60% easier to read]"
- [Once interested,] "recruiters spend as much as 4 to 5 minutes per résumé"
Based on all of this research - and a little bit of my own ;) - I'd like to explain the purpose of résumés and suggest six keys for your résumé and LinkedIn.
Cover letter... résumé... interview
- The first step, if possible, is to send a cover letter to get them interested. Its purpose is to get someone to consider your résumé. It says, "Hey! YOU need me. See my résumé for WHY". It is not meant to have all résumé content and should not have too many "I" statements. Focus on THEM, their needs and a compelling reason they should look into YOU - how you stand out. (See site below for more info.)
- The purpose of a résumé is to get you noticed and in for an interview. Chronologically, list your relevant achievements and top skills - not your life or career history - as "WHAT I can do for YOU". Still not HOW...
- Then, when you are called in for such a wonderful résumé, the interview is where you explain the achievements and skills that are on the résumé.
"This is HOW I did it... and how I will do the same for YOU". (See site below for more info.)
Six keys for the TOP of your résumé
In other words, the key to résumés is to not put everything on there!
"Recruiters spent almost 80% of their résumé review time reviewing 6 areas:
- Name [credentials],
- Current title and company,
- Current position start and end dates,
- Previous title and company,
- Previous position start and end dates,
- Education [degree]."
So, we learned you don't want to make someone search for these items. Put them at the top. Here's how:
- On your LinkedIn profile, this succinct information is already in your Name section at top, by default. However, you can control so much more by elaborating on these 6 points in your Summary section, and moving it to the top. It is the first thing people see about you - and per this research - the deciding factor for if they keep reading! (See my profile as an example.)
- On a printed résumé, it should be a brief paragraph at the top, similar to your LinkedIn Summary.
- Some also consider the top section/paragraph as a place for your "elevator pitch” - the 30-second speech (or paragraph) that summarizes who you are, what you can do for someone and why you’d be a perfect candidate. See my LinkedIn Headline and Profile - just after my name - and Why and How to Be [a STAND OUT!] on LinkedIn.
Looking for more résumé help?
Check out this maintained resource site with tips and links for your career.
I'd also recommend Guyant and Associates. They have many great free tips and examples, and not just on résumés.
Remember you've got six seconds to hook your audience for that next perfect job! This post covered research on résumés, key takeaways, purpose and tips for résumés, and how recruiters viewed the research.