At some point in your job search you may have wondered why so many career experts spend lots of time talking about how to write the perfect resume, when you may have also heard that recruiters spend very little time reviewing it. The Absolute truth is that your resume has only about 10 seconds to really impress a recruiter, or it’s likely to just go unnoticed.
Because of the volume of resumes we recruiters receive in response to an ad, it is our goal to quickly chisel down the pile to make it more manageable. Thus, your resume must present your information quickly, clearly, and in a way that makes your experience relevant to the position in question. In other words, your resume must be concise, powerful, and persuasive, all at the same time. If the recruiter can’t figure out how your experience applies to the available position, your resume is not doing its job.
Pretend you are a recruiter trying to fill a position that you know you are very well suited for. Give yourself only ten seconds to review your resume. Does your resume give you a good understanding of your work experience? Do your qualifications shine through within those ten seconds? Do your accomplishments jump off the page? Do you have paragraphs or large chunks of information that act as “speed bumps” that slow you down as you scan through it?
When the ten seconds are over, consider editing your resume to reflect what you learned. Now might be a good time to blast those paragraphs into a few crisp, concise, focused bullets that can effectively tell the same story. Each bullet should be two lines at most, but one line is often sufficient. Short, powerful bullets give us reasons to keep reading. Consider showing your new resume to someone in the same industry or to someone with a similar job function to see if they believe that you have solved the ten second conundrum.
Last but not least, remember to proofread your newly edited resume. And, ask at least two friends who are strong writers to proofread it as well. The last thing you want is a well-formatted resume with excellent content to have grammar or spelling mistakes.
With only ten seconds of fame, you need to work hard to get a recruiter’s attention. Creating a concise resume will not only help you impress us on paper, but it will also help you become a focused interviewee who is able to answer questions as targeted as a speeding bullet.