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Can Your Resume Get Noticed in 6 Seconds?

Updated: Dec 20, 2022

2022 is looking to be another great year for job seekers. Recent job reports have shown that unemployment is now at 3.8%, which is below pre-pandemic levels. It appears that the phenomena of 'The Great Resignation' will continue, with over 44% of people in the workforce currently classifying themselves as 'job seekers'.


Many of these people are interested in work that provide 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

For 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 bigger or appealing font at the top of the page. Add a live email and social medial 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 - 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 draws 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 standout.

  • Personalize Fonts - Unique fonts can make your resume standout 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.

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?

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