Make a great first impression with your resume

Work Wisdom

Make a great first impression with your resume

You’ve spent hours on a job application. You’ve read and reread it for days on end, searching for typos, inaccuracies and other items that could possibly disqualify you from the position you’re pursuing.

You spent so much time and effort on this resume, surely the person reading it would take more than a few minutes to review your hard work, right?

Unfortunately, the answer is probably no. To make a great first impression with your resume, you don’t have an hour, 10 minutes or even 10 seconds. According to a recent study, you have only 7.4 seconds to make a great first impression with your resume.

Most companies receive a flood of resumes for every open position, giving recruiters precious little time to review them all. Naturally, this makes figuring out how to get your resume to stand out from the rest of the pack that much more important.

How? According to the study, resumes that grabbed recruiters’ attention and caused them to spend the most time and attention on them share a few characteristics in common:

  • Simple layouts with clearly marked section and title headers, written in a clear font
  • Layouts that take advantage of F-pattern and E-pattern reading tendencies, with bold job titles supported by bulleted lists of accomplishments
  • A detailed overview or mission statement at the top of the first page

Meanwhile, the worst-performing resumes have these characteristics:

  • Cluttered layouts characterized by long sentences, multiple columns and very little white space
  • Text flow that doesn’t draw the eye down the page, lacking section or job headers
  • A reliance on keyword stuffing

The study suggested adhering to these tips will keep your resume effective and impressive:

  • Avoid the temptation to cram as much information onto the resume page as possible.
  • Bold sections or job titles throughout the document to catch the recruiter’s eye.
  • Use short, declarative sentences that adequately list accomplishments instead of excessive paragraphs.
  • Adhere to a strict two-page limit for more experienced job seekers.
  • Use keywords in context only.

Landing your dream position is more than possible. Follow this advice and your resume will help you stand out from the pack.


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