How to Pass a Recruiter’s 6 Second Resume Scan

How to Pass a 6 Second Scan

I love my clients but I have to say 90% of the resumes I receive can’t pass a recruiter’s 6 second scan. I wrote an article last year about the 6 second scan and how it’s a real thing! Read it here.

Recently a few of my friends and colleagues who are hiring managers looking for talent have vented about the terrible resumes they see. What they are learning first hand is that most resumes are not good at all. They are either too busy or too vague.

I understand that many of my readers believe they can do it themselves. For some reason there are some people who think resumes are just not worth putting money into however the amazing thing is my clients who have invested in their resumes have been rewarded with new job offers.

Seriously, all of my clients who actively look for jobs – get a job – and most of them make more money than they have ever made.

Without further ado here are a few ways that you can pass a recruiter’s 6 second scan.

Watch the Word Count. How many words are on your resume? If your resume is more than 700 words you had better be a CEO otherwise you need to edit it. Full disclosure here, I was recently asked for my resume and I have to admit, I am currently editing my resume because it’s 2.5 pages. So I am not being a hypocrite here, I am cutting it down and removing old jobs to make my resume 6 second scanable. Also remove empty descriptors and adjectives. Resist the urge to pile on duties to try to make your resume longer thus making you feel more important about yourself. Just state the facts and the value you bring to the table.

Heading. Your heading should be clear and concise. Name, contact info; the best phone number, not all phone numbers, your email address, and maybe a link to your LinkedIn profile. Your name should not be over 20 in font size. Your contact info should not be smaller than 11. Recruiters hate to see a big name and then a phone number so small they have to use a magnifying glass. Plus think about what message you are sending when your name is the biggest thing on your resume.

Summary of Qualification or Objective Statements. If you are going to have them, keep them short and sweet.  No more than 3 sentences and they should tell the reader what you can do and how long you’ve been doing it. That’s it. Don’t say “to secure a position” or “looking for opportunities”, just say “5 years of experience in ….” Or “Using expertise in… to create…”

Bullet Points. No paragraph style job descriptions and duties. Use bullet points which should not be any longer than 2 lines. Start your bullet points with action words, e.g. Managed, Led, Developed, Designed, Worked or Created. Depending on what you do.

Strategically Position Your Strengths. Sometimes you can bury your strengths in a pile of words or at the bottom of your resume which hardly gets read. Your strengths should be highlighted toward the top of the resume. Yes, skills can be positioned towards the top. Yes, education can be positioned towards the top. Yes, certifications don’t have to be at the bottom. It all depends on your strengths and abilities. Not all resumes are the same.

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