When hiring managers review resumes to choose which candidates they want to bring in for an interview, they aren’t spending much time per resume. One study showed that hiring managers spend as little as six seconds looking at a resume, and while that figure has been contended, most studies agree that the amount of time per resume is usually under 60 seconds. With so little time, hiring managers certainly aren’t reading every resume word for word, so it’s important that yours stands out.
Your resume needs to answer three questions for the hiring manager – who are you, what are your qualifications, and why should they bring you in for an interview. These decisions are made quickly, so it’s important that the look and formatting of your resume are optimized for skimming and quick reading.
How can your resume pass the 60 second test?
Use clean formatting.
Formatting is key in ensuring the hiring manager can easily find out details about your work history and background. The more clearly laid out things are on your resume, the more likely it is for the hiring manager to spend more time looking at it, since they don’t have to hunt for information.
Font and spacing are the most important design factors on a resume. Use a clean, easy to read font like Arial and keep the size at 10pt for readability. Use headers to label sections so the hiring manager can easily find the information they’re looking for. Make headings, job titles, and positions bold so they’ll stand out. Use bullet points when listing your work history details rather than paragraph blocks, and aim for no more than five points per job.
Regardless of the format of your resume, you should always have your name and contact info at the top of the page, followed by work experience, then qualifications and education. Feel free to add a link to your LinkedIn page in your contact information, as that offers a way for the hiring manager to learn more about you without having to add additional pages to your resume.
When it comes resume design, it really depends on the type of job you’re applying to. If it’s in a field or for a role where design is a part of the job, then a creative resume can help you stand out. If it’s not a creative job, it’s best to keep your resume simple. You can still use color, but limit your color choices to one or two and always ensure that the main text is black.
Provide enough, but not too many details.
The jury is out on how many pages a resume should be, and the truth is, there’s no absolute right or wrong. If you can fit it on one page without sacrificing too much detail, that’s the best option as you have a better chance of the hiring manager looking at all of your information. However, once you have a longer work history, it becomes much harder to contain your resume to one page, so adding another is absolutely fine. You don’t want to leave off something important just for the sake of squeezing it onto a single page.
The key is to provide enough detail that your resume highlights your accomplishments and abilities without going overboard. Think of it this way – the resume is what opens the door and the interview is where you can fill in the details. Your goal is to pique the hiring manager’s interest so that they’ll bring you in for an interview to learn more.
Ultimately, it comes down to readability. If a resume looks skimmable, the hiring manager is more likely to spend more time looking at it. Highlight why you’re the right candidate and make it easy for them to see that and you’ll increase your chances of being selected for an interview.