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  • Writer's pictureLisa Dupras

Can Your Resume Get Noticed in 6 Seconds?

Updated: 5 days ago


The 2023 Job Market is Challenging!

Recent job reports have shown that unemployment is at a 50-year low of 3.8%. However, in 2023 there were over 235,000 tech layoffs, the result of inflationary hiring during the pandemic. Companies are emphasizing fully on-site or hybrid work and many workers are still searching for remote work.

desk with coffee and glasses and computer

Many of these job searchers are interested in work that provides more balance, such as remote/hybrid situations, non-traditional contract/project work, or self-employment. Therefore, even though record numbers of jobs are opening up, competition for them could be fierce.


Recruiters will be under pressure to fill their posted jobs even more quickly and efficiently. A typically posted corporate job could generate 250 resumes, of which 4 to 6 will be invited to job interviews, resulting in 1 job offer. Studies have shown that recruiters spend an average of 6-10 seconds reviewing a resume, which equates to viewing about 30-40 words. These words must STAND OUT, BE NOTICED, and GET ATTENTION.

Additional Tricks to Draw Attention to your Resume

For the purpose of this blog, it is assumed that your resume is solid, meets the job's requirements, is optimized, and has passed through the ATS (Application Tracking System). Following are tips on how to gain the recruiter's attention to snag that interview:

  • Add a Visual Element to Contact Information - Place contact information in the bigger or more appealing font at the top of the page. Add a live email and social media link spaced apart for easy viewing.

  • Strategic Use of White (Negative) Space - Solid blocks of black/grey text can overwhelm the reader. The absence of content between words and paragraphs will draw and invite their eyes to look where your design directs.

  • Use Bold, Shading, or Italics - Many resume writers may bold their previous job titles and italicize subheadings within each section of the document. Shading can be used for emphasis. Multiple studies have shown that underlined text is difficult to read so don't use it.

  • Add a Design Element to the resume format - Columns can focus the eye and save space for lists, making the resume more 'skimmable'. Boxes with subtle shading draw the eye easily to focused content. Arrows are effective by pulling the eyes directly to the content but should not be overused.

  • Strategic Use of Color - Color can easily draw a resume reader’s eye to your contact information. Sectioning off resume sections or choosing a different color text are simple solutions to make the resume stand out.

  • Personalize Fonts - Unique fonts can make your resume stand out from everyone else's Arial and Times New Roman. Make sure to use them consistently, test the legibility, and keep the size between 11 and 13 points. Serif fonts are a good option.

  • Insert a Quote or Reference - Consider placing a short reference that clearly supports your personal brand in the body of the resume. Make sure to get the quoter's approval first.

  • Add a box or table - Just know that ATSs will not convert or add the information within the box. It will be seen on the saved version of the resume by the company.

How Do Recruiters Review Resumes?

  • They quickly review the last job for clues or matching keywords that match their job opening.

  • Their eyes scan in a Z formation starting at the top left corner of the resume

  • Sometimes they review the summary section, quickly looking for evidence of skills that match the posted job.

  • They rarely review the education section.

Note - If your resume meets the guidelines of the position, it WILL be reviewed in greater detail!


Take the Challenge!

Get your resume out. Hold it out in front of you with your eyes closed. Now open them for 6 seconds. Is what you see enough to stand out and get noticed?


Let's Connect!

Do you have a public profile? What did you change your URL to? Is it your name or something wacky and fun? I'd love to hear. I'd love to hear from you and chat about your experiences. Follow me on LinkedIn and click the bell icon on my profile page to be notified of my career posts.


When you are ready, here’s how I can help you:

➡️I offer a free 30-minute career exploratory session.

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➡️I offer flexible, consultive services to meet all your career needs.


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