16th October 2020

How to get the recruiter to notice your resume in 6 seconds

A study by The Ladder suggests that recruiters do not spend more than 6 seconds on a resume. They conducted another study called Recruiter Eye-Tracking and that increased the screening time from 6 seconds to 7.4 seconds.

It seems like good news but 1.4 seconds does not really make that much of a difference. 

Irrespective of the time constraint, the idea is to create a good impression on the recruiter and get shortlisted for the interview. 

You need to highlight your skills in a manner that locks the recruiter’s attention and that is what we will help you with. 

Let’s get started. 

Choose a clean format

To make sure that recruiters pay attention to your resume, you need to choose a clean format that complements your profile. 

For example, there are three types of resume format – chronological, functional, and hybrid. 

In the chronological resume, you can write your profiles in reverse chronological order along with pointers around your job responsibilities. It is the perfect choice for candidates who do not have a gap in their professional careers. 

Whereas as a functional resume will allow you to make a separate section called “domain expertise” to write points related to the target profile. It is ideal for candidates with career gaps, switching industries, and job-hoppers. You do not need to focus on the professional experience, just write your profiles and write all the relevant details in the domain expertise section. 

Moreover, the hybrid format is a combination of both. Here you can create a “domain expertise” section and write points in the professional experience section as well. It is ideal for senior professionals. 

But, these things are secondary if you do not choose the right template. You should choose a resume template that allows you to modify the document according to your needs so that recruiters can assess your abilities and skills correctly. 

Order of sections 

Your resume should follow an outline that is traditionally acceptable. It’s always to try and introduce new things, but since recruiters have seconds to peer through your resume, you need to make sure that you use a universally acceptable outline. 

Here is what the outline of your resume should read like: 

  • Header: Name, Job title, contact information
  • Professional summary: Pointers around your accomplishments
  • Key Skills: Your expertise
  • Technical Skills: For technical professionals
  • Professional Experience: Write profiles in a reverse chronological order
  • Education: Your education details 
  • Certifications: If applicable 
  • Additional information: Write your extracurricular activities, hobbies, or training here.  

If you are composing a functional resume, place the domain expertise above the professional experience section. 

The length of your resume

The length of your resume should either be 1-page long or 2 pages. Even if you have a ton of projects and an exhaustive work experience, restrict your resume to two pages. 

There may be inaccuracies in your approach that are making your resume exceed the two pages limit. 

Here is how you can achieve that and improve the readability as well: 

  • Use bullet points to write your job responsibilities and achievements. Begin the statements with power verbs so that you can build a better impact. For example, write “Overseeing” instead of “Responsible for”.
  • Club 3-4 relevant statements under functional level buckets/subheadings. For example, you can write the subheadings as “Team Leadership & Mentoring”, “Talent Acquisition & Onboarding”.

Write a stellar summary

The resume summary goes in the top third of your resume. So, it is one of the most important sections because it is most likely to be read first. 

This section should cover your achievements, job-related pointers, and expertise. This idea is to help the recruiter understand why you would be a good fit for their organization. 

A summary is written in paragraph form and does not exceed more than 3-4 sentences. So, within this confined space you need to convey your most essential skills. 

Here is an example to help you understand how you should write a professional summary: 

“4+ years experienced Content Manager with a prolific track record in managing a range of dynamic remote writers and marketers to achieve business objectives. Proficient in employing effective training measures to improve operational efficiency. Adept at liaising with social media influencers to promote the content online.”

Key takeaways 

Here are a few key takeaways from the article: 

  • Choose a template that allows you to format your resume as per your experience. 
  • Use the correct order of sections to ensure a perfect resume outline. 
  • Restrict your resume to one or two pages. 
  • Write a summary encompassing your key accomplishments within 3-4 sentences.
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