Why That Perfect Job Lasts Only 6 Seconds
It's your résumé, of course!
Research proved you've got six seconds to impress a hiring manager. This post covers the research, the purpose of a résumé and six things that should go on it.
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!
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 clarify the strategy to getting a job and suggest six keys for your résumé and LinkedIn.
Profile... résumé... interview!
1) The first step is to get an awesome profile that has enough key search terms, but also gets them interested. It says, "Hey! Look at the STORY of all I have done!" It is not meant to have all résumé content but should get them wanting to see it. It should be mainly in the first person, telling your S.T.A.R. story that they can relate to. Focus on the compelling reasons they should look into YOU - how you stand out. (This used to be handled with the cover letter - but nobody looks at those anymore.)
2) The purpose of a résumé is to get you matched 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...
3) Then the interview is where you explain your achievements, skills and discuss your fit in the organization. This is "HOW I did it... and how I will do the same for YOU".
Six keys for the TOP of your profile and résumé
The key to résumés is to not put everything on there! "Recruiters spent almost 80% of their résumé review time on 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, a shortened LinkedIn Summary.
- Some also consider the top section as a place for your "elevator pitch”. Think of this as 30 seconds to summarize who you are, what you can do for someone and why you’d be a perfect candidate. See my LinkedIn Headline and Profile and Why and How to Be [a STAND OUT!] on LinkedIn.
More Résumé Help
For the do-it-yourself types, check out my maintained resource site with tips and links for your career.
If you need more help, contact me. I'd love to explain my services and help you!
I'd also recommend http://www.risingstarresumes.net. Lynda Spiegel, Professional Resume Writer & Job Search Coach, has 15+ years as a human resources executive. Her articles on careers and job search strategies have been featured in LinkedIn Pulse, Quora, ReWork and TalentCulture blogs. She is also a member of The Wall Street Journal‘s Experts Panel.
- View her WSJ posts here: http://blogs.wsj.com/experts/tag/lynda-spiegel/
- View her LinkedIn articles here: https://www.linkedin.com/today/author/risingstarresumes
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Remember, you've got six seconds to hook your audience for that next perfect job! This post covered résumé research, the purpose of a résumé and six things that should go on it. The full study is a great read, as well as another review of it.