Let me ask you a question.
How quickly do you click the “Skip Intro” or “Play Next” buttons when you’re binge-watching a show on Netflix. A few seconds, right?
What if I told you that recruiters and hiring managers are doing the exact same thing when reviewing resumes?
Our attention spans are dramatically shrinking. Recruiters and hiring managers are no exception. They spend less than six seconds to decide whether or not you’ll get an interview. So make sure that your resume passes the notorious “6-second Test” by designing it to be easy to skim.
Designing Your Resume To Be Easy To Skim
To design your resume to be easy to skim, you need to pay close attention to the layout and organization of the information on your resume. Consider this:
How quickly could I find your top 8-10 job-related skills?
How quickly could I piece together your work history timeline?
How quickly could I tell that you have contributed to organizational goals?
If I can’t find these three details in six seconds or less, then I can’t skim your resume!
Adding or refining a short Skills or Areas of Expertise section on the top third of the first page of your resume will make your top job-related skills easier to find and your resume easier to skim.
Using bold font to make your position titles stand out and consistent formatting for the company names, locations, and dates of employment will make your work history timeline easier to skim.
Your resume shouldn’t be a list of responsibilities or typical tasks (Although, these details can help optimize your resume with the right keyword that Applicant Tracking software will be looking for if written strategically!). Your resume should showcase how you have contributed to organizational goals by demonstrating your skills in action and highlighting achievements. You can make these details easy to find in a quick skim by using bullet lists.
Not sure how to design your resume to pass the notorious “6-second Test?”
I’ve created easy-to-edit Microsoft Word resume templates for college graduates, major career changers, mid-career, and IT professionals that are not only easy to skim but they won’t get lost in the ATS “black hole!”
A word of caution if you choose to look elsewhere for a template, don’t make the mistake of buying or downloading a graphic resume. Most of them are designed to cram as much as possible into one page using columns, charts, and icons. These will actually make your resume more difficult to skim.
Do you think I could skim your resume and find the three details mentioned in six seconds or less?