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Does your CV pass the 6-second test?

Last updated on: March 4, 2013 18:44 IST

Does your CV pass the 6-second test?

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Shailja Shah Purohit

Six seconds is the average time a recruiter spends on a resume, before he passes or rubbishes it! How do you grab the employer's attention?

While the traditional resume is your marketing tool and key to the job market, dynamics of the job market have changed drastically over the years and so has the way resumes are scanned and selected.

Time is a premium today for consultants, who have to go through thousands of resumes in a day.

So, your resume must give vital information that recruiters are searching for, it must be easily accessible to search engines and it should showcase requisite skills.

The author is with recruitment portal Shine.com

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Being searchable

Resumes today are generally 'parsed' or scanned through application tracker systems, before they are even seen by human eyes.

To get your resume through this automated process, you need to ensure your resume has the right keywords and is correctly formatted.

Keywords are the specific terms used for a particular industry and profile, which includes domain area, skills, designation and requisite education qualifications.

Search filters are defined by certain keywords as per the job requirement.

The correct placement of these keywords on the resume, as well as the number of keywords, is what helps a resume get to the top of the heap. resumes should also be tech compliant -- in terms of formatting -- to be searchable.

This means using the correct fonts as Arial, Times Roman and standard font sizes of 10 to 12 point sizes, which makes a resume easily 'readable' to search engines.

Graphs, tables, pictures, special effects and fancy fonts should be avoided to ensure your resume gets through without any errors.

Illustration: Uttam Ghosh



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Does your CV pass the 6-second test?

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Passing the test

The main elements that a recruiter scans through in these six seconds is: location of the candidate, the last two companies and designations held, and education qualifications.

It is also important that this basic and vital information be easily accessible to the recruiter.

An eye tracking technology was used to create a heat map of how recruiters scan a resume.

The mapping also revealed that hot spots were mostly to the left of the page and on bold text.

Any large chunks of text were simply skipped.



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Does your CV pass the 6-second test?

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Showcasing skills

Once your resume reaches the desk of the hiring manager it needs to be impressive enough for him to want to connect with you.

The resume must showcase your skills and strengths as per industry requirements and best practices.

Your key domain skills, of course, must come upfront as these are also keywords, but you also need to showcase soft skills.

Soft skills are those that differentiate you from another candidate with the same qualifications and domain expertise.

As you move up the ladder soft skills become even more important.



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Does your CV pass the 6-second test?

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Common mistakes on a resume

Ajit Chouhan, Senior HR professional in Technology & IT advises candidates to avoid repeated references to past achievements.

Instead focus on recent experience and achievements.

"One must highlight the suitability for the position being applied as recruiters always focus on finding the right fit for the job, profiles which match the role position have the best chance for being interviewed," he shares.

His list of don'ts include avoiding lengthy resumes, fancy fonts, bold letters and spelling and grammatical errors.

A one or two-page resume will do.

"Very often, we find that resumes do not have the year of passing covered explicitly in the  academic credentials, and the work experience mentioned does not add up to the total number of working years," observes JM Prasad, Chief -- Human Resources, ING Vysya Bank.

Illustration: Uttam Ghosh



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Your online resume

If you are in the job market, social media cannot be ignored as companies are using these platforms to collaborate your resume and learn more about you -- the person.

Even headhunting candidates on social media is fast catching on, with many large organisations using this tool for talent acquisition.

You hence need to ensure your presence, especially on professional sites like LinkedIn.

Make sure you are easily searchable by using relevant keywords and having a 100 per cent complete profile.

Once a recruiter reaches you, your profile should be impressive enough to make him want to connect with you.

Illustration: Uttam Ghosh



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Does your CV pass the 6-second test?

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Managing your online reputation

Do a Google search on your name and check the kind of links that are showing up.

You need to ensure that no negative images or impressions show up.

So, think twice before you upload those crazy party pictures, or allow yourself to get tagged on these!

Sandip Mallik, Director HR, Aviva India, succinctly sums up the need of a well-written resume when he says, "In this fiercely competitive world, a well written resume has the power to get the attention of the best of the employers."

Illustration: Uttam Ghosh



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Engineer's CV revamped!

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Shine.com's resume sevices reviewed an engineer's resume and recommended several changes to help make it more searchable, concise and tech compliant.

Take a look at the snapshots of the resume before and after the changes were made.

This is the engineer's original CV...

 

And here's a snapshot of the engineer's CV after revamp...



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