Job hunters are often told that hiring authorities will give their resumes a quick, 10-15 second glance before moving onto the next candidate. However, during my recent survey of recruiters for an Examiner.com article, I found out that it’s more like 3-5 seconds.
While your initial reaction to this news might be panic, stop for a second and think about it – how are you obscuring your message with all the noise at the top of your resume? Are you making it hard for employers to figure out what you can do for them—and why they should tune in to your value?
First of all, you’ll need to delete that objective statement; otherwise, your chances of being noticed by a recruiter are slim to none. Instead, cut through the clutter and grab attention during that brief glance with just 3 elements: a powerful resume title, focused brand tagline, and perhaps a summary, as described here:
-Resume Title. Place yourself squarely in the role that you seek with this brief phrase (up to 4 words maximum, otherwise your goal isn’t focused enough).
The recruiter should be able to easily discern your intent by seeing Senior Sales Representative, COO, Marketing Director, Senior Purchasing Agent, Web Developer, etc. in this area.
-Brand Tagline. A 1- to 2- line sentence that points out the benefit employers receive from hiring you vs. your competition, this must be a high-impact, not canned, phrase.
While writing this isn’t easy, some phrases that can help are consistent revenue generation, high-ROI product development, operations efficiency, and the like. Brainstorm until you get a short, tightly worded phrase or sentence that encapsulates your value.
If all else fails, take a cue from online resume samples to find some ideas for inspiration.
-Summary. While a hotly debated area among resume experts, you’ll find that no one has time to read a long-winded block paragraph, no matter how carefully you word it.
Stick to a short, value-packed summary of 4 lines or less (some of the worst summaries are those that go on for more than 6 lines, describing how “successful” or “self-motivated” the candidate has been in previous jobs). Avoid doing this: you’re burying the key points of your message!
However, you can and should include keyword content as appropriate, including skills or areas of strength, as well as a key accomplishment that defines your contributions.
If you find writing a tight profile to be difficult, consider skipping it entirely. Many of my resumes avoid using a summary in favor of achievements and quick snippets of brand value.
In summary, you’ll get better results by creating a compelling, quick “prime resume real estate” summation that conveys what you’re about and why employers should pay attention.