How can you review 500,000 resumes? Honestly?
I’ve reviewed more than a half million resumes during my career. I bet you’re wondering how this is possible.
Combine decades of interviewing and hiring at a high velocity, coupled with a whopping no-thank-you to a great recession (where I reviewed an average of 1,500-2000 resumes per week for four years), and strong relationships with prominent outplacement companies who send me resumes by the thousands when they handle a large reduction in workforce for one of their clients, and, hey presto, there it is.
How long? 6 Seconds!?
Recruiters worth their salt can glance through your entire resume within six seconds, which means you’ve got five seconds to interrupt their mind-numbing, eye-glazing, white-noise-like key-stroking through an electronic pile that will make you start talking slowly no matter how much caffeine you’ve had.
Don’t believe me? I’m sharing my personal experience (more on this in a minute), but a number of job sites such as The Ladders (check out their eye-tracking story on how recruiters review resumes) indicate their survey says employers review your resume in six seconds. Ouch.
Why? Everyone’s busy and they have too many resumes to review.
How do you review the resume?
Click. Open. Big Thunderbolt Mac Screen!
Eye-Glance 1: Name please! My eyes go right for the top center. I want to see your name. Just your name. I don’t need 18 other credentials and letters (unless you’re a medical doctor, lawyer, or whatever). An address is nice too. I want to know your geography.
Eye-Glance 2: Then I look at the entire top half of the first of page of your resume—all at once. I’m looking for something specific (more later). I do not start reading the top half of the page. I’m filing away whether I want to come back to it later. If it has what I want, I’ll come back. If it doesn’t have what I want, I never go back to it.
Eye-Glance 3: Then I scramble down the left column of the first page. I’m looking for the companies you worked for. I’m much more interested in which companies you worked for than the positions you held. I want people who’ve played for Super Bowl-winning teams.
Eye-Glance 4: Then I look at the entire second page all at once. Yes. The entire page. If you have a third page, I’m upset because you didn’t respect my time.
Side note: If I can sum up my entire 28-year career in 26 words, you can summarize a 50-year career in two pages. If you think you can’t, you are mistaken.’
This entire eye-glancing escapade takes me no longer than six seconds.
How do you decide to keep reviewing the resume?
Now, I need to decide whether to delete the resume or whether to review it. I stress the word review because anyone who has time to read your entire resume has too much time on his or her hands.
Want to know what I’m looking for?
What’s the 5-second magic pill!
Why did you open this post? It was one of two reasons.
You either know and love me and thought omigawd, Andy has another amazing post and I just have to watch (listen or read). Otherwise, you had no clue who I was, but saw the headline telling you some dude promises you resume glory in five seconds.
I’m guessing the latter. Regardless of your reason, you need to interrupt the recruiter’s mind-numbing review process by giving her something she’ll love—right away. It’ll be your analogous “headline.”
She wants to know you’ll bring value to her organization.
The easiest way to do this is by encapsulating who you are professionally—in aggregate—and also highlighting your (likely three most) valuable contributions.
I suggest doing this in a Career Profile section at the very top followed immediately by a Career Highlights section immediately underneath.
I’ve already given you the exact formula and language in How to Build the Ultimate Professional Resume. I’ve also given you the templates whether you need a professional or collegiate resume.
The absolute DO NOTS as in NEVER EVER!
Don’t waste your most prime real estate at the top of your resume with…
An objective statement. Yuck. Double yuck. You are advertising what your objective, needs, or wants are. The employer wants to know what you can contribute. Tell them what you offer not what you want.
A bunch of skills: Ugh. Please, whatever you do, don’t list skills in a table or any other format that tells the employer you are a leader, project manager, hard-working, detail-oriented, energetic, so on and so forth and so boring. This takes up space sharing generic skills, which are technically your opinion of yourself. The employer wants facts. Give them facts. Caveat: you can identify skills in your career profile sparingly and according to the instruction I provided in How to Build the Ultimate Professional Resume.
An education section: Education is nice and should be toward the bottom of your resume if you’ve been working professionally for more than 24 hours. That’s right. You’re a pro now. Drop it down. Caveat: You are in a CV-type world where the studies, doctorates, and so forth are key. Caveat Part Deux: You’re a college student.
Coming soon! I’ll be running a webinar completely dedicated to writing the perfect resume. If you’re on my Tips for Work and Life® blog subscription, you’ll be notified!
FREE Live Job Interviewing Webcast: I’m offering a FREE LIVE WEBCAST titled 3 Keys to Ace Any Job Interview. It comes with great instruction and a nice workbook for note taking. Even more, I have an awesome giveaway when you attend. It’s an eBook titled How to Interview the Employer: 75 Great Questions to Ask Before You Take Any Job. There are several times available.
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