How to get noticed ……… in 7 seconds

Ange Connor

The job application you submit is what determines if you’ll be shortlisted for a vacancy or added to the unsuccessful pile of resumes. Making a winning first impression counts and statistics show you have 7 seconds to stand out from the crowd. Last week through our social media channels we shared some info and advice on how long a recruiter takes to assess your application in the initial shortlisting stage. Due to the huge amount of enquiries we received regarding these posts we’ve decided to give you our top 7 tips for getting your resume noticed in under 7 seconds by the team at Inspire HQ.

  1. The Look & Feel

Your resume is a business sales document selling you and it needs to be presented appropriately. A recruiter will skim read or scan your resume in those first 7 seconds, to stand out from the crowd ensure the look and feel of your resume allow us to pick up on the really important info easily. Plenty of white space and bullet points are a great way to do this instead of chunky paragraphs of text. Clear headings that differentiate the various information you are presenting are key. Make sure the font is easy on the eye and the font size is just right. Pay attention to the little things like spelling and formatting. They might seem minor but these little things make a big difference.

  1. Your motivation for applying

We want to understand what makes you tick and why you were motivated to put pen to paper and submit an application. Every application you submit should be individually tailored to the position you are applying for. A career summary or career objective section in your resume is a great way to do this and help us understand you. In the first 7 seconds we might not read that statement word for word but the key words will jump out at us. Remember this is a sales document selling you, show us all the great things about you! See tip 3 & 7 for further info

  1. Key words

In those first 7 seconds it’s not possible to read the application from start to finish in detail. As we skim read or scan your resume initially we are looking for key words that indicate to us you have the knowledge, skills, qualifications and attributes we are looking for. To nail this part of the process the job advert and position description are crucial and will help you ensure you have the right key words in your resume to catch our attention.

  1. Transferable skills

If you are changing direction with your career you need to show us you have the transferable skills we are searching for. The best sections of your resume to highlight these transferable skills are in the Skills & Attributes section as well as your Employment History and any community and volunteer work you have undertaken. Don’t just list that you have these skills, anyone can list that they have excellent communication skills, well developed interpersonal skills, advanced computer skills etc. Show us how you have demonstrated these skills through your responsibilities and achievements (refer tip 6). The art to getting this part right lies in being able to articulate your skills succinctly so we can understand and relate how you’d successfully apply those skills if successful in gaining the position we’re recruiting for.

  1. Context – help us understand

There have been many times I have read a resume and thought that’s great but what does that actually mean. Your resume needs to be easy to comprehend by a stranger who knows nothing about you. For example a key responsibility listed in their resume might read: Lead and managed a team to achieve KPI’s. A statement like this leaves us thinking how big was that team, was it one other person or was it 50. What are the KPI’s, did you achieve them, how did you go about achieving them, were they weekly, monthly or annual KPI’s. Help us understand you and your background by giving context to your responsibilities and achievements. It’s a fine line but you need to give us enough detail to ensure we understand but make sure you hold enough info back so you can impress us with the extra detail at interview.

  1. Achievements

Everyone lists their duties and responsibilities in their resume under employment history and this is extremely important so we understand what you do on a daily basis and what you are accountable for. We recommend taking it one step further and standing out from the crowd by highlighting your achievements. You might only list one or two but this is your opportunity to show us how you have gone over and above in your job. Well drafted achievements highlight benefits to your current employer such as, cutting costs, streamlining systems, improving productivity or outcomes, creating efficiencies. Show us how, by employing you, the company will benefit.

  1. Leave us wanting to know more

A well written and presented resume will give us an understanding of who you are, why you are applying and what you can bring to the job. You need to capture our interest but not give away too much information. Leave us wanting to know more, capture our interest, leave us intrigued so that we want to come back and read your resume from start to finish and are then inspired to pick up the phone and invite you in for an interview.

Is your resume working for you and getting you noticed in 7 seconds? I’d love to hear about your experiences and what you’ve done differently to get noticed when applying for a job. Feel free to leave me a comment and share your experience.

About The Author
Ange Connor

Ange is the Founder and Director of Inspire HQ, one of regional Victoria’s leading recruitment, human resource (HR) and careers agencies. Ange is an ‘ideas’ person and a ‘big picture’ thinker. She loves to challenge the status quo – in fact, that’s how Inspire HQ began.

Ange has supported hundreds of businesses across Ballarat and regional Victoria to attract, engage, motivate, develop and retain their greatest assets; their people. Ange’s unyielding passion and invaluable knowledge of the recruitment and HR industry ensures she delivers the best solutions for her clients.

Ange has held various board positions and regularly volunteers her time to share her industry and market knowledge. She was recently a Councillor for the Victoria and Tasmania region of the Recruitment Consulting and Staffing Association (RCSA) of Australia and New Zealand, and she is a current Board Director of the Committee for Ballarat.

For more useful information, follow Ange on LinkedIn.

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