6 seconds to make your resume impress

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - Ever wonder why you didn't get a job?  Now, there's a scientific study that tracked what job recruiters looked at most on a resume.

An article in Business Insider cites the Ladders, a job recruitment website, saying recruiters spend an average of "six seconds before they make the initial 'fit or no fit' decision" on candidates.

According to the study conducted by the Ladders, recruiters spend nearly 80 percent of their time focusing on six different areas of a resume. These most-important aspects are:

  • your name
  • current title/company
  • previous title/company
  • current position start and end dates
  • previous position start and end dates
  • education

The formal survey of job recruiters used eye-tracking technology to figure out what matters most on your resume.  It measured the eye movements of actual job recruiters to see how long they spent studying certain aspects of a resume.

The study has some recommendations:

  • Make sure your resume is free of visual clutter — it doesn't help, it only distracts.
  • Use "an organized layout" and a "strong visual hierarchy."
  • When you're writing your resume, make sure you include (and focus on) those six key areas that recruiters spend their time gazing at.

Professionals in the Heartland say these tips are just the beginning to a successful resume.

"It's frustrating because the system has changed so much," said Elizabeth Becker.

Becker is on the job hunt.

"I used to just go to the place of employment, pick up an application, go home and fill it out, and bring it back when I was ready, now everything is online," said Becker.

So now, she's creating a resume.

"I had never prepared a resume before," said Becker.

So experts say these six things are a good start, but Robin Strop with the Missouri Career Center says those are just the beginning.

"Actually I think that's the minimum for a resume," said Strop.

She says it's important to relay why you would be an asset to the company.

"Just listing job responsibilities, just isn't enough, you need to say here's how I did it, and this is what I did," said Strop.

She says it is important that your resume looks nice.

"A lot of the resumes we see are very basic, and we have a lot of folks that don't realize, oh I can do that, make it look aesthetically better, instead of just a box style resume," said Strop. "The top 3rd of your resume is the most important."

She says you must have correct spelling, and encourages someone else to look over it.

"With the amount of folks looking for jobs, you just can't afford to do that," said Strop.

Stop agrees employers will look at your resume quickly.

"There's any one thing that's off, it's out the door," said Strop.

"It means that each word has to have impact," said Becker.

Words with impact, that Becker hopes will land her a position.

Joe Rozier, with Workforce development said he agrees with the 6 important things to include on your resume, but adds a few different ones.

Rozier agrees most important, your name; and agrees education and current title/company are needed, but says a very important things the list forgets is contact information. He says if a resume doesn't have your contact information; it's almost pointless to turn it in. Rozier says a phone number and email are important points of contact to include. So, he says to make sure your phone answering machine is business appropriate.

Rozier also says to make sure you include points of discussion on your resume. So, don't just say you increased sales, but how you increased sales. That can be something the employer asks you about in an interview.

Rozier suggests having more than one version of your resume, depending on what type of job your applying for. He says if it's a sales job, put your sales experience at the top; if it's customer service, put your customer service experience at the top of the resume.

Finally, Rozier says it's important to have an objective statement that's not too narrow. You don't want prospective employers to count you out of certain jobs because they assume that's not the type of job you're pursuing.

Helpful links:

Copyright 2012 KFVS. All rights reserved.