Writing a Resume: Can You Pass the 10-Second Test?

Writing a Resume Can You Pass the 10-Second TestResumes are often the starting point to a job search. Whether you apply for a job, post your resume on a job board, or send it to a recruiter, you need to be able to pass the 10 second test.

So what is this test? Once your resume is received, the first reader decides very quickly if you are a fit for the job or not. This may be a recruiter or the hiring manager, but you have about a 6 to 60 second window to capture the reader’s attention.

Here are 3 points to focus on when editing your resume:

  1. Length

No one has time to read a 12 page resume. Over a long career you gain a ton of experience and skills, but you need to condense your work history so the reader can quickly pick out the relevant areas.

If you are a recent grad or have less than 4 years of experience, you should be able to keep your resume to 1 page. A general rule of thumb is 1 page for every 5 years. Once you get into experience beyond 10-15 years, you can provide less detail for each job. It is really the last 3 to 8 years that will make you a fit. The stories of how you got to where you’re at are important, but spare the reader the details. If they are interested in more, they will ask.

  1. Job Titles

Job title and company are often the first place a reader looks. Make it bold to catch their attention! If your job titles do not seem relevant to the job you are applying for, the reader will be quicker to dismiss you.

For candidates looking to make a career change, this can be the most frustrating area. You have to find another way to explain why you want to make the change. Network with people in your desired industry and they will be able to advise you on the best way to enter the field.

  1. Format

Now that you have the reader’s attention, you don’t want to lose them with a confusing format. Bulky paragraphs are too tough to read. Run-on sentences are another downfall. Keep your sentences concise and to the point. Bullets work well, but anything more than 8-10 bullets will be skipped. Ask yourself, “Is this easy to read?”

Try it for yourself! Can you get the highlights of your resume in less than 10 seconds? Have family, friends, colleagues, and recruiters take a look. If you need some help getting started, reach out to us here at DAVIS. We are always happy to help improve your resume!

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