Does Your Own CV Pass The 30 Second Resume Test?
How long do you spend looking at a product advertisement in a magazine before you flip the page? I bet it’s not longer than 15 seconds, even if you are interested in the product they are advertising.
Pretty brutal right? Recruiter behaviour is not much different when they are going through hundreds of resumes looking for the right candidates to invite in for a job interview.
Important facts to remember when you draft your own Resume
Recruiters have deadlines
Recruiters get bored
The key to passing the all important 30 second resume test is to make it easy for the recruiter to find what they are looking for and keep it short and snappy.
So the question is: what information do Recruiters & HR Managers look for when screening resumes?
Let’s first remind ourselves – What is the point of the resume? Is it a document to help you sell yourself? Is it an accurate summary of all your work experiences? No, it’s not. The point of your resume is to get you a job interview.
For your resume to achieve that objective you need to understand exactly what information the recruiter is looking for when they scan through your resume.
In only 30 seconds the Recruiter & HR Manager is looking to find out:
- Your name
- The company you currently work for
- Your current job description
- Your skills and experience – Do these match the job description?
- Your education
You need to make sure this information is easy to find on page 1 of your resume. Ideally, it should all be located on the top half of the page.
How Do Recruiters Scan Resumes?
On the subject of scanning resumes, let’s take a closer look at how recruiters actually scan each resume they receive. If you have ever used the SQR3 method of scanning texts at university you will understand what we are talking about here. Just like SQR3, recruiters will:
First scan the page for headings, sub headings, bold copy, quotes and highlights.
Then evaluate this information against the key objective – In your case, does this persons skill and experience match the needs of the job description?
Finally, shortlist the resume for further consideration if the above evaluation is positive in no more than 30 seconds.
How To Conduct The 30 Second Resume Check
In order for your resume to make it through the brutal first cut you need to make sure the recruiter can identify all the information listed above easily in 30 seconds.
You need to pay particular attention to your skills and experience. They should be easy to see and definitely need to match what is required in the job description. This is why you need a different resume for every job application.
Once you are happy you have achieved this then you should:
Ask a friend to read your resume, tell them they have 30 seconds to review it
Time them and stop them at 30 seconds
Ask them the following questions:
- What is my full name?
- Where do I currently work, in what role?
- What are my key skills, please list the top 4-5
- What degree have I completed?
Once you have their answers, edit your resume and re run the check until you are happy the reader can retrieve all the key information within the 30 second window.
The 30 Second Resume Checklist
In addition to the information above you should also double check the following items:
Readability – Use standard fonts like Times New Roman or Ariel to make the resume easy on the eye.
No Photo or images – Don’t include a photo of yourself unless you have been specifically asked to. Photos are a distraction and often use up at least 5 of your precious 30 seconds.
Length – Keep the resume to 2 pages.
Format – Save it as a word document and not a PDF format.
Email – Make sure you are using a professional email address.
Sanity check – Run a final spelling and grammar check.
If you are able to run the 30 second resume check and identify all the key items in the list above then your resume is ready to send off to recruiters. In addition to this information, you should also ensure that your resume is set up in a way that will make sure it is selected by resume screening software. This is often the first barrier your resume will encounter before it even makes it into the hands of a recruiter.
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