The 6 second Resume

cv_writing-advice-400x400Recruiters and HR managers are flooded with applications from scores of job applicants. Reviewing and shortlisting from such a vast pool of talented professional’s is an intense activity and demands increased mental energy and efforts. Inherently, recruiters just skim through profiles and do not read resumes word by word.

A recent study based on the gaze trace technology, by online job-matching service, ‘The Ladders’ suggests that recruiters take just 6 seconds to review your CV. The study also stressed on the importance of a professionally written and formatted resume that places relevant information, where it will grab reviewer’s attention in the first 6 seconds.

“This 6 second review, decides whether your resume gets a ‘NOD’ or gets tossed into the ‘NO’ pile.”


HR managers are of the view that, a resume should be easy on the eyes. Communicative and concisely written CV sets the wheels for further communication rolling. A lengthy, ill formatted resume with spelling and grammar errors can send it directly to the trash bin.


More often than not, recruiters search for the right candidates online and contact them for a particular job profile. This implies that including the right keywords in your resume, based on the search queries recruiters’ fire at search engines, is extremely important. If your resume is visible online for the most relevant keywords, it is reaching the right places.

Write only, what is asked for

Job applicants might think that organizations are looking for a well-rounded personality and hence it is good to mention hobbies and interests in detail. However, recruiters and HR executives disagree. Save these details for the interview. Hobbies and extracurricular activities make a good topic of discussion during interviews. Nevertheless, putting them on resumes is a bad idea.

Relevant Information

Fresher’s often end up filling resumes with information about college activities and awards. Instead, emphasize more on relevant projects, internships and participation in industry events followed by education details and marks. Limit the resume length to a single page. If you have graduated from a top school, that should be highlighted in a subtle manner.

Cover letter

Experienced professionals and mid-level executives, can put the most recent and relevant experience first. For top level job profiles, a professionally drafted cover letter of about two paragraphs, that includes details like how many years of experience you have and what position you are applying for, is enough. Recruiters gauge you through that and take a call.


Smartly put across your accomplishments, quantify your success, demonstrate achievements in numbers, and mention professional milestones in terms of cost savings and profit margins. If you are team leader or a project manager, be specific about the number of people you are heading.


Job-hopping has become very common these days. As a result, ‘stability factor’ has moved up the ladder to become a point of focus for recruiters. Candidates who do not hop jobs frequently are preferred over others. However, if you are a frequent job hopper do not hide this information or lie to the organization.


In 2011, IMB fired nearly 700 employees citing fraudulent behavior. All these employees had furnished false information on their resumes. Organizations seek professionals who are trustworthy and follow their ethics. Even the smallest incidence that reflects a conflicting behavior can reduce your chances of getting the job. The thumb rule is ‘Do not lie’ about any of the details like educational qualification, work experience, awards, achievements etc.

Visual element

Writers can attach work samples along with their resumes; art professionals from creative fields can use colored fonts, creative formatting and also attach work samples. However, for other professionals this would be ill-advised. Follow the usual monochrome color scheme in black and white. Visual elements that do not address a recruiter’s need should not be included. Use fonts and font size that looks professional and is easily legible.


Make every second count. Ensure that the flow of your resume is function focused. Format your CV to suit the position and work profile for which you are applying. Ideally, a resume should be a page or at the most two. Long and boring paragraphs will never get read, focus on the important information first and put things into headings. Do not forget that headings provide a quick burst of information and are a precise way of communicating a lot in a few words.

About the Author:

Chirag Shivalker heads the content management team, & has been a highly-focused self-starter & is accustomed to fast pace, tight deadlines and multiple assignments. His diverse, professional and personal background & experience helps him understand the issues that challenge and drive the talented writing and editing team at Hi-Tech Outsourcing Services. His exceptional portfolio includes feature articles for trade and consumer publications, marketing collateral, press releases, and online content.

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