You have 10 Seconds – Go!

I attended a symposium recently focused on ending homelessness among veterans. One segment was a panel of larger local employers giving advice to agencies who work with Vets, and two of the speakers gave very similar advice.

The first said “When I look at resumes I spend about 5 seconds on each one. If I can’t find something in 5 seconds that tells me I need to learn more about this candidate, then I move on to the next one.” The second panelist looked at the first with a quizzical expression and said, “Wow, you’re harsh. I take at least 10 seconds per resume,” and laughed. There you have it. You have – at best – 10 seconds to impress a recruiter with your resume.

Are you familiar with the old newspaper adage “above the fold”? Back in the day, when newspapers were still printed on paper and everyone read them, reporters would fight to get their stories on the front page. But the really great real estate is on the upper-half of the front page – up above the fold. That was where the most important news went.

Your resume needs to be treated the same way. You need enough content on the top-half of the first page to make the recruiter keep reading. Then if there’s a second page, the rest of the first page needs to make them want to turn the page. That is one reason that newspapers start lots of stories on page one, but rarely end stories on page one. They want you to open the paper so you’ll see the ads and read other stories.

The other resume advice I heard at this event was one I’ve said here before. Every time you send out a resume to a company it should be tailored to that job and that organization. Emphasize the parts of your background based on the job you’re applying for.

So when you’re getting ready for to send out that next resume, push that pertinent stuff, be it education, experience, accomplishments, what-have-you, up above the fold on page one. Make sure that in 5 to 10 seconds the reader will be hooked that you might be the one. If you do that you’re chances of success will skyrocket.


One Comment on “You have 10 Seconds – Go!”

  1. […] They need to be specific to the job you are applying for – highlight your quantified accomplishments that prove you have the ability to do the job you are trying to get. Make the recruiter want to know more about you. Sequence the information so the most important information is on the top half of the first page. […]


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