Did you know that recruiters spend an average of 6 seconds on the initial “look” at a resume? It used to be 10 seconds! We’ve seen dramatic changes in the last few years with the time constraints imposed upon us, forcing people to create new ways to do things. Faster ways of doing things isn’t always better, but it certainly is the goal of most people.

Recruiters are no exception when it comes to making decisions about potential candidates in as little time as possible. The saying “time is money” really applies here! So recruiters are continually looking for ways to shave time off their searches for good candidates.
In a scientific technique study called “eye tracking,” professional recruiters were studied over a 10-week period of time. This study tracked their eye movements when reading resumes, “to record and analyze where and how long someone focused when digesting a piece of information.”

The results of this study is no surprise, especially to professional resume writers who are trained in the strategies of resume writing. In the 6 seconds a recruiter looks at a resume, they look at name, current title, company, position, start and end dates, as well as that same information for at least one previous position, along with education details.

mind map resumesHeat mapping was how this study revealed where the recruiters’ eye movements went. Check out these two resumes. You can clearly see that the resume on the right received a lot more attention, most likely because of its clear and concise format. You can see as the content became denser in the resume on the left that the eyes didn’t spend time trying to navigate through that bulky area.

When writing your resume, keep this visual in mind. Make it easy for recruiters to find the relevant information about who you are and what you can do for a prospective company. Don’t get carried away with dense paragraphs that will throw a recruiter into the “doe caught in headlights” syndrome. You may lose their attention before they get to the key content. Make your 6 seconds count!