The Six Second Rule: What Recruiters Look For In A Resume

How much times do recruiters spent looking at a resume?
Seven minutes? Five? Two? Actually, just six seconds, according to a new study released by TheLadders, an online job search. According to the study, recruiters spend an average of "six seconds before they make the initial ’fit or no fit’ decision" on candidates. As you know, first impressions are everything. When you consider that your resume has less than ten seconds to do just that, you have to be very careful about your legal resume’s overall presentation.

So what are recruiters looking at during those crucial six seconds?
The study relied on a scientific technique called “eye tracking” that was use on 30 professional recruiters during a 10-week period to record and analyze where and how long recruiters took when digesting a piece of information or completing a task. The focus of those six seconds were spent on looking at your name, current title and company, current position start and end dates, previous title and company, previous position start and end dates, and education.

What can you do to make your legal resume stand out for recruiters?
Make sure that your resume is formatted in a manner that offers a clean and clear presentation to the reader. If the information on your legal resume is well organized and easy to read, you will have better odds of making a favorable impression within those six seconds. First, be sure to highlight your company names and titles, using either, bold, italics, all caps, or all of the above. Be sure to clearly include your dates of employment, preferably with both months and years. Set off your accomplishments with active verbs, and try to use new one whenever you can to avoid repetition. Keep the language clear, clean, and simple. Avoid jargon, acronyms, and long lists. Always include your most relevant accomplishments at the top. Be honest about your educational accomplishments and credentials. Finally, be sure to include your bar status information. Making a good impression with prospective employees can be challenging, especially when you have just a few seconds to do it, but focusing of providing a clean and clear presentation will go a long way towards achieving that goal.

By: Claire Bellon

Date: 04/10/12