75% Fail the 10-Second Resume Rule: These Top Resume Tips Get Your Resume Noticed

Posted on 05. Feb, 2014 by in resume

Ever feel like your resume or job search is a game? No doubt, there are winners and losers in the job search game. The trick is to know the rules, seek advantages, and be prepared. And it all starts with a winning resume – one that passes the 10-second resume rule and the resume tip that gets you there.

What is the 10-Second Resume Rule?

An initial resume screening on average lasts less than 10 seconds, that’s how the rule got its name. Whether initial resume screening is done using technology or a human reviewer, the screening happens very quickly. And this screening quickly gets rid of nearly 75% of all applicants for any position. Let me say that again, 75% of all applicants are rejected within the first 10 seconds of resume review. Adios. See you later. Thank you for applying.

So, the 10-second resume rule is that your resume must be able to quickly convince a reviewer, whether computer or human, in just a few seconds that you meet the position requirements and have the experience they need and are, in fact, the candidate they need to hire. Simple, right?
This is one of the reasons why resume writing is so challenging. It is persuasive writing at its finest. And what’s worse is there are few more difficult topics for most people to write about than themselves. That’s why many people find better success in bringing in a professional resume writer to help out. You can check out the 2014 best resume writers here.

Help Me Fix My Resume

Everyone wants a simple fix. Let’s set this straight now–there is none. Writing a resume is hard. That’s all there is to it. Most people do not like to write. Most people do not like sales. A resume is both – it is a sales document. Ouch! Double whammy.

So, how do you fix your resume then?

The 10-Second Resume Rule Revealed: Top Resume Tips

Well, first let’s review the basics behind the 10-second resume rule. You can’t beat a system you don’t understand, right? Follow these top resume tips to improve chances your resume will survive the initial 10-second evaluation round.

Resume Tip 1. Carefully Craft the Most-Read Part of Your Resume

What is the most-read part of your resume? It is not your name, in a sea of hundreds of resumes, names matter little in initial evaluations. The most read part of your resume is your Experience Summary or Profile. If your resume does not have this section, you are losing points in a big way. Years ago, it was common to put an Objective at the top of your resume. The Objective section has been replaced by the Experience Summary section. Why? Because it allows you to make a case for yourself and your relevance to the position you are seeking. It is a quick 3-4 sentence overview of your qualifications. If you don’t generate interest in this section, rarely will your resume be looked at any further.

So, the Experience Summary section of your job resume should be written for each specific type of position you are seeking to ensure you make a convincing case for why you are the perfect candidate. In other words, for a computer programming job, you should focus on your computer programming skills and experience in this section so you can establish yourself as qualified right away. This section must also make you stand out from other applicants. As you draft your Experience Summary, ask yourself if anyone else could make the same statements in their own resume. If so, go back and re-work it again. You need to establish your value to the employer and clearly tell them, “Here is what I can do for you.” This resume tip is critical to your job search success and taking the time on this one step will reap huge rewards for you.

Resume Tip 2. Have a Strategy for Job Search Technology

Most medium and larger employers are now using technology to help them manage job applicants. Lower prices have made this technology much more accessible to a wider range of employers. And it successfully removes up to 75% of applicants from the review pool very quickly, saving human resources staff a lot of time and work.

However, this technology does pose some risks for you as a potential job candidate. Many of the applicant systems being used do not recognize items in table format, text boxes, or other graphical elements. Avoid using these on your resume to ensure they are not skipped by technology reviews.

Resume Tip 3. Use a Simple Resume Format and Resume Template

Remember that a lot of the initial resume evaluation may be done using the software tools discussed above. These tools are typically developed to scan a resume for specific sections of information, such as profile or summary, work experience, education, training, etc. If your resume varies too far from what these tools expect, chances are that all of the great information you worked so hard to put in your resume will just be skipped over. You may not get a second chance from an in-person reviewer. You should keep a simple resume format to avoid any issues with software tools being used by potential employers. If you need help, you can check out some of these top online resume builders and top online resume tools.

Resume Tip 4. Put Your Work Experience in the CAR

Say what? You guessed it, it’s an acronym designed to help guide your resume writing.
First things first, though. For each position listed on your resume, provide a short paragraph on your roles and responsibilities. This is a trick to help ensure you use keywords that software may be searching for in your resume and will earn you a higher ranking in the system.

Follow each position’s roles and responsibilities with a bulleted list of your achievements at each position using the C-A-R method. Yeah, we’re talking about the acronym. To do this, first indicate a Challenge you faced, followed by the Action you took, and identify the Results of those actions. Make sure that the achievements you cite are strong, and a reviewer wouldn’t read it and say “who cares.” This is critical and those who write resumes for a living are so skilled at wording these achievements to sound very impressive and make them relevant. For example:

Took over development of client’s web site that was months behind. Developed a plan to divide work among staff and assigned additional resources to get project back on track, finally meeting all original deadlines for site and receiving a commendation from the client.

  • Awarded consultant of the year award by client

If you approach each position in this way – first a short paragraph on roles and responsibilities, followed by a bulleted list of achievements – you will be well on your way to catching the eyes of resume reviewers. If you are finding this difficult to do, you may want to call on the assistance of a top resume writer to jump start your job search.

Resume Tip 5. Prove Yourself

It has been said that finding a job is a job. I have always believed this to be true. If you want someone to believe that you are the best candidate for a job, you’ve got to prove it to them. This happens by building your case from the ground up. What does that mean? It means that you need to offer proof for every statement you make. So, if you say that you have 8 years of experience in project management, an employer should be able to go position-by-position through your resume and identify those 8 years by themselves.

Try to avoid vanilla, blanket statements without backing them up. For example, offer details rather than meaningless phrases like top performer, sales award, employee of the month, etc. No doubt these are great accomplishments, but don’t forget to tell the why and how of these recognitions. That is what is truly important, the recognition is secondary.

Resume Tip 6. Leave Your Creative Writing License at Home

Some of the language people use on their resumes is downright laughable. Don’t have your resume stand out for the wrong reasons. Avoid creative writing. Avoid big words and uncommon vocabulary. Avoid over the top statements that make you sound like a super hero. They stand out like a sore thumb and call your credibility immediately into question. Top resume writer Don Goodman shares one of his favorite claims as “Rocketed performance to stellar heights.” Says Goodman, “People don’t speak like that; I have never heard an executive tell the HR person that they needed someone who could rocket performance to stellar heights. Remember, people hire people they like, so don’t make your resume read like an amateur poet wrote it.”

Resume Tip 7. Avoid Irrelevant Statements

I was a singing tree in my second grade play. Really I was. However, that statement is completely irrelevant to our discussion here about resume writing tips. You should follow the same advice. If it is not relevant or you can’t reword it so that it is relevant, leave it off. Your resume should focus on all of the items that would serve to qualify you for the position you are seeking. Not the items that distract. For example, I once received a programmer resume that the only thing I remember from it was that they attended clown college and competed in national juggling competitions. Interesting, but that fact trumped their qualifications for the programming position, which I don’t even recall the relevant skill set. In short, keep the items on your resume relevant to the position for which you are applying. If it is not relevant, don’t include it on the resume for that position. This means you will have multiple versions of your resume for the different positions for which you apply. Exactly.

Use These Top Resume Tips to Get Better Job Search Results

You get 10 seconds to state your case for consideration for any job. This list of resume tips should help your resume get better results. No one ever said that writing a resume or finding a job was easy. Especially in a tough economy when there are over 300 applicants on average for each open position. You have to make yourself stand out. These tips teach you a strategy that you use to get your resume noticed and stand out from the other applicants. Put them to use and you should start seeing results.

If it seems like too much work or you feel overwhelmed, consider the services of a top resume writer. These professionals work with individuals like you every day and know how to make you stand out. Their expertise in selling your skill set on a resume could dramatically shorten your job search time. With the number of people competing for each job, you need every edge you can get. You can see the list of 2014 top resume writers and reviews here.

NEED RESUME HELP? Take a closer look at our List of 2016 Top Resume Writers

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Comments are closed.