Did you know that studies have shown that recruiters only spend an average of 6 seconds looking at a resume? Yes, it takes us that short of a time to make the ‘yes’ or ‘no’ decision if a candidate is a possible fit for the role.

Don’t believe us? By now, you should have already decided if you’re going to continue reading the rest of this article. The same goes for your job resume!

The reason why we only take 6 seconds to assess and evaluate your skills is that we have a lot of resumes to review each day. We receive on average 50 to 200 job applications for each job that we post online. In some cases, we may even receive more than 500 resumes for just one job opening!

This is why it’s so important that your resume makes a good enough impression within the first few seconds to attract prospective employers. The challenge is in writing a professional resume that will not only get you past the 6-second test, but keeps the recruiters and hiring managers interested to continue reading. Make your CV simple but concise so that readers and recruiters like us can easily identify your key selling points.

get recruiters to read your resume
get recruiters to read your resume

Whether you’re a fresh graduate or someone with 20 years of work experience, the same rules apply to you. Our specialist recruiters at Randstad share 6 resume tips and their best advice on how to wow them in under 6 seconds!

Here's how you can improve your resume score and pass the resume 6-second test.

1. use bullet points and headers to separate information

It’s difficult to read a huge chunk of text as long paragraphs are more difficult to be processed by the human eye. Just try to read the paragraph below:

“During my experience as a campaign manager, I was tasked with several responsibilities such as planning and coordinating events for company projects where I supervised the execution, monitoring and measurement of marketing campaigns and their successes. I was also in charge of compiling regular reports of previous campaign performances and feedback from clients to feedback to stakeholders and the team as well as improve on future campaign projects.”

Instead of a long paragraph, use sections and subheaders (eg. education, job experience). Use bullet points to organise your professional history, experience, relevant skills and other important information that the recruiter needs to determine whether you’re a good fit for the role.

You should also write with short sentences so that it’s easier for recruiters to read.

2. optimise space on the top half of the resume

Put your most relevant and strongest qualifications on the first half of the resume page. Include information that recruiters will most likely be looking for, such as your existing role, responsibilities and key skills.

Some of the key skills and responsibilities that recruiters want to see in your resume are:

  • Quantifiable achievements from your latest projects
  • Technical skills and relevant certifications
  • Examples that can demonstrate the skills and competencies listed in the employer’s job description

Also try to include some of the keywords and phrases you find in the job description in your resume so that you are drawing strong parallels between your experience and what the employers are looking for.

With the recruiters' 6-second decision window, it is important to get their attention by presenting these relevant information first. There is no point hiding your best ‘assets’ at the bottom of the page!

3. remove unnecessary information

Sometimes less is more. We are often tempted to show off all our qualifications in an attempt to be rated better than other potential candidates.

Although it may seem counterintuitive to remove information from your resume, it should be done if it's irrelevant to the job that you’re applying to.

Here are the common resume fillers you should not mention in your resume:

  • Secondary school education background unless it is your highest level of education  
  • Achievements and accomplishments from pre-tertiary education. - Yes, you are probably proud of finishing first in the bowling competition, but unless you’re applying to a bowling company, this information is not relevant to your future employer. Including old achievements on your resume also gives the impression that you do not have any recent ones.  
  • Job experiences which are not relevant to the role that you are applying for. - That part-time cashiering job you did during your school holidays might be something you want to leave out - if that’s not a required skill for the new role.  
  • Personal information such as hobbies, political opinions or family members. - Sharing how many family members you have or which political party you support is not exactly going to get you the job.
which should not be mentioned in a resume
which should not be mentioned in a resume

4. fit your resume within one page

Keep your resume to one page. Two if you absolutely must, but no longer than that. If your resume is more than two pages long, then it’s time to shed some fat.

We’re not talking about changing the font size here! Refer to the points above to decide on what you should remove. Alternatively, you can also get help from your friends or family members to help shorten some of the sentences or re-design your resume.

 5. simple and clean formatting

We all want to stand out from the pile of CVs. However, there is a right and wrong way to go about being creative with your resume.

Unless you are a designer, we recommend using a simple and clean resume template.

  • An easy-to-read font. - Arial or Calibre is recommended with a 10-size font.  
  • Do not use drop shadows, glow fonts, bevels or other font stylisation.  
  • Keep to only one or two colours at most.  
  • Do not include images, not even a self-portrait! - They take up very valuable space on your CV. Furthermore, it is illegal for employers to determine the job fit based on how you look, so there is no necessity for photos.

6. eliminate spaces wasters

Space wasters are any information or words that give very little value to your hiring managers and recruiters.

things that waste space on resume
things that waste space on resume
  • Stating the obvious - Hiring managers know that you are trying to get a job. There’s no point in writing “I’m a Senior Relationship Manager looking for new career opportunities”, we already know that.
  • Reference upon request - This is a given. We’ll ask for it when we want to contact your ex-boss or ex-colleagues to know more about your personality and working style.
  • A personal bio - We don’t need to know which town you grew up in or your hobbies.  
  • Listing generic soft skills - Words like ‘hardworking’, ‘responsible’, ‘organised’ or ‘team players’ don’t mean anything when it’s written down. If you want to share that you’ve great communication skills, then make sure that the quality of your resume shows that!

are you ready to wow your recruiter with your new resume?

With only 6 seconds to get the attention of recruiters and hiring managers, it is important to prioritise critical key information. Take note of the points above to prepare your best CV to impress your recruiter and get you one step closer to your dream job.

how to improve resume score
how to improve resume score

Whenever you’re ready, we’re ready for you too! You can register for a job seeker account with us to submit your CV so that our recruiters can start reviewing your resume or visit our latest job listings to start applying for jobs right away.

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