The 8-Second Resume Scan

What does your resume tell the employer in eight seconds? That's how long your resume has to grab the employer when he first sees it, experts say. To make the most of that precious eight-second resume scan, better make sure your resume is in good shape.

What does an employer look for in that first glance? Two things. He wants to see if:

  1. You can do the job.
  2. You'll be a good fit in his company culture.

So your resume needs to address those two points and it needs to do it quickly — in just eight seconds!

3 Ways to Beat the 8-Second Resume Scan

In those eight critical seconds, a decision is made to either consider you for the job, file your resume for later review (which may not even happen), or throw it away. Here are three ways to help your resume beat that eight-second scan.

1. Use the right resume format.
Depending on your work history and job objective, one of these three resume formats will be best for you.

Take time to read about these formats and look at resume examples that use them. Your goal is to pick the one that promotes your strength and downplays your weakness. The right resume format will make an employer see your assets in that eight-second scan.

2. Keywords.
As the hiring manager scans your resume, he'll be looking for special keywords that define you as the right person for the job. And, of course, those keywords in your resume will help the employer's resume scanning software pick you out in a search of the company's resume database. Those keywords might be terms for:

  • Software (for example, "Photoshop")
  • Knowledge-sets (for example, "bond trading")
  • Short phrases that say your work style is in sync with the organization (for example, "sand play therapy").

I suggest you make a list of the keyword terms that define you as the best person for the job you want. Then make sure you get all those keywords in your resume.

3. Make the right info jump out.
A big part of resume formatting is how you use your computer desktop tools. Even simple things like these can make the most important info easy to spot on your resume.

  • Make key text bold or all caps to draw your reader's eye to that item.
  • Put items in columns (this works great for lists of keywords such as skills or knowledge-sets).
  • Use white space and bullet points to break your text into bit-sized pieces and help the reader find what he's looking for quickly.

Many job seekers have what it takes to score high on an employer's checklist, but their resumes don't deliver the info... or don't deliver it fast enough. Now, you can have a resume that says it all in that eight-second resume scan.