You’ve got less than 10 seconds…

We’ve all heard that an applicant’s resume is only viewed for 6-10 seconds before they’re either contacted or their resume is “round filed.”

That’s not a long time.

Quite frankly, employers don’t have much more time than that. Any single job ad attracts hundreds to thousands of applications and employers often have several jobs advertised at a time. Add to this that a Hiring Manager’s job isn’t reviewing resumes. They have actual jobs to do and fulfilling recruitment needs is another thing they have to make time for in their already jam packed busy days. This means that it’s up to you, the applicant, to make it as easy as possible for them to see the right candidate in you.

Below is a list (think of it as a checklist of sorts) that will help you determine whether or not your resume will pass the 6-second test. Ready? Go!

  • A professional email address

A professional email address is important and having one like is not the way to go. Ideally you want to use your name. Something industry specific would also be acceptable. For example, if you’re an Executive Chef applying for a Chef role with, that works!

  • Past employers

Some hiring managers look for industry experience (this practice is a bit outdated if you ask me, but we’ll talk about that later. The point is, it’s still done so you need to be prepared for it). Also, many employers like hiring someone who comes from a major competitor so they are paying close attention to your past employers.

  • Job titles

When you apply for a particular role, employers like to see that you’ve held that job title before. It speaks to your experience, or at least their perception of your experience. There are so many job titles in existence that can be used interchangeably like Recruiter and Talent Acquisition Specialist. Same thing! Some employers will spot the similarities, some won’t so if you can make it easy on them and get yourself an interview, by all means do it!

  • Duration of employment

Despite the fact that “job hopping” is not as taboo as it once was, some managers still frown upon short employment terms. Another practice that’s outdated if you asked me. Duration isn’t as important as contribution however it’s still looked at so be aware and be prepared to explain.

  • Key words

Managers look for key words in your resume that will help them connect the dots between your resume and the job itself. This doesn’t mean that you should flood your resume with words from the job description hoping to land an interview. That would easily backfire.

  • Numbers

Have you ever heard the saying “numbers don’t lie?” Many cling to this, especially in the business world. It’s all about measurable results and if you’ve got a few of those on your resume, you can earn major points.

  • Education (including certifications)

This is self-explanatory. They’re looking for completed or in progress degrees in areas matching those needed for the job. Also, industry specific certifications that would make you a stronger match for the role. Unless you graduated from the manager’s Alma matter, the name of the school won’t be as important.

  • Systems knowledge

Again, pretty self-explanatory. If there is a certain system, IT related skill or programming language you need to know to complete the essential tasks of the job, and you happen to possess that knowledge then it needs to be on your resume

  • Errors

This may sounds crazy but some managers and recruiters are looking for mistakes. They’re looking for spelling errors and grammatical blunders so proofread your resume over and over. Make use of spell and grammar check, etc. Don’t take yourself out of the running for something silly like mismatched bullet points, a missed comma or period.

I realize this is a lot and it seems impossible for someone to look for all these things in 6-10 seconds but it really isn’t. It doesn’t take long for one’s eye to jump from one section on a resume to another. It truly does happen that quickly.

If, after reviewing the list above, you’re concerned about your own resume, let me know. We can work on it and get it where it needs to be.

Hi, my name is Pamela Shand and I want the best for you in your career. I started Offer Stage Consulting to show job seekers how to overcome the most annoying challenges and get where they want to be in their careers. It is possible to actually be happy at work!

Let me show you how.

Leave a Reply