Does Your Resume Pass The “Scan Test?”

May 14, 2015

Ask any HR manager – the piles of resumes he or she receives for any given job opening can be overwhelming.

A study by The Ladders shows that because of the sheer volume of resumes, HR spends only 6 seconds on yours – not much when your career rides on this single pass. Maximize those seconds by using these simple steps to woo HR:

Readability is Scanability

Resume writing professionals agree: how you organize your resume is the #1 factor that influences employers’ snap judgments. The people who do the hiring at any given company learn to scan through resumes quickly to eliminate all the candidates they believe are definitely not qualified.

Your formatting influences what the reviewers see during that small window they use to check you out. This is why it’s so important to stick to a standard format and use a font that’s easy to read. These formatting must-haves are just the beginning, though.

You can also grab attention by:

  • Clearly identifying sections so no one has to hunt for information.
  • Using bullets to draw the eye to your most important accomplishments.
  • Compressing long blocks of text into short sentences.
  • Breaking up long paragraphs into scannable lists.
  • Bringing important skills into focus based on the job description you’re applying for.

Remember, the key is tight, punchy, powerful copy that demonstrates what you’re bringing to the table without any unnecessary information. You can always expand on your experience on your LinkedIn profile if you’d like the potential employer to see the bigger picture.

Visual Information

It’s true: a picture says 1,000 words. If you have an opportunity to include a graph or chart on your resume then absolutely do it! HR can easily take in a chart that shows progressive sales increases for 10 years. It’s informative and it’s eye candy at the same time – much more interesting than 10 bulleted lines with words indicating your sales performance. Keep your word impact low and your visual impact high!

If you find yourself passed over again and again despite having the right qualifications, take another look at your resume’s scannability and visuals. You’re bound to see new and better results.