Last week, The Business Insider featured an article titled “What Recruiters Look At During The 6 Seconds They Spend On Your Resume” by Vivian Giang (http://goo.gl/QxwQp).
I cringed when I saw it featured on LinkedIn.com.
Six seconds? Really?
I barely form thoughts in that amount of time, let alone review the vital information of a potential candidate.
However, according to the article, a study by TheLadders found that “recruiters spend an average of ‘six seconds before they make the initial ‘fit or no fit’ decision’ on candidates”. This statistic was determined by tracking the eye movements of 30 professional recruiters as they reviewed resumes.
In this incredibly short time, the recruiters were most focused on a candidate’s “name, current title and company, current position start and end dates, previous title and company, previous position start and end dates, and education”.
It may be my greenness in the industry, but I question the quality of these 30 recruiters when the initial “fit or no fit” determination was made faster than the construction of this sentence.
Certainly there are cases when this is appropriate. For example, if the position requires a certain educational background or certification and the candidate lacks it, a recruiter may end the screening abruptly. Or if a candidate’s work status disqualifies her for the position, a recruiter will definitely move on to the next resume.
But for most sourcing requirements, the process should not be this superficial. Recruiters do a disservice to candidates and clients alike if they cut corners when screening potential employees.
Unfortunately, this shallow sourcing will likely continue in many companies, so job seekers should keep the following suggestions in mind when polishing their CVs.
1. A Clean, Well-Organized Resume Screams “I’m A Pro”!
Sure you better have the professional experience and skill set to back it up, but the first way to catch a recruiter’s eye is a stellar format. Make sure your work experiences are separated clearly and include employer names. Be sure to list specific work you’ve done at each position and stress the technologies employed in these efforts.
Make sure educational degrees and certifications are highlighted. Don’t be afraid to brag, either. Put in your outstanding GPA and the times you made the Dean’s List. These could be the deciding factors between you and another highly-qualified candidate.
2. I Can Do That…Here’s Proof
A section that concisely details your skills and level of expertise with technologies is also advisable. Recruiters love to have their questions answered before the initial screening call. So if you have over 5 years of experience developing in the C# environment, make sure those who view your resume know so. Only include skills and techs you have actually used in practice as over-representing your knowledge can be as deadly as lacking relevant experience.
3. Link It Up – Extending A Recruiter’s Screening
I am seeing more and more resumes with hyperlinks (embedded links to webpages) that allow viewers to open a candidate’s LinkedIn profile, see that person’s Facebook page, or connect to his personal blog. As well, savvy job seekers are now including links to their online portfolio of work and to published academic papers.
I’m a proponent of each example above. Recruiters and employers want to match a face with the resume and to the voice on the other end of the line. Willingly connecting them to your LinkedIn or Facebook profile shows personal pride in your appearance. Just be sure your mother would be proud of your appearance as well!
Sharing your personal blog, so long as its content is appropriate, gives a preview to your personality and speech patterns. Including a link to a published journal or to a repository of webpages you’ve designed demonstrates a track record of success.
4. Ink Beats A Blank Page
Finally, if your resume is 1 ½ pages or 2 2/3 pages in length, consider including a final section to complete the page. Whether it is a list of references or achievements outside work, a recruiter is more likely to contact you if she recognizes a mutual acquaintance or shares your love of Thai food.
Hope everyone has a great Monday evening and GO RED WINGS tomorrow night! Check back Wednesday for a new feature and be sure to follow @itinthed on Twitter for daily IT news and links.