If you had to take a wild guess at how long recruiters browse through a resume, what would it be?

A) 2 minutes

B) 4 minutes

C) 5 minutes

According to a study done by The Ladders, it’s actually none of the above, “recruiters spend only 6 seconds reviewing an individual resume.” That’s right, it can take just six short seconds to decide if you get the interview or not. Recruiters are trained to look for certain aspects of a resume right off the bat. To avoid being shunned to the bottom of the stack, avoid these mishaps:

Mishap #1: Feedback from your peers’ reveals that your resume is too vague.

Employers want to know the nitty-gritty specifics of why you are qualified enough to be an asset to the team. Let’s say you are applying for a position and your resume states, “worked as a sales associate.” This is too vague and will probably find itself at the bottom of a recycling bin. Instead, be more specific about what you did as sales associate that applies directly to the job you are going for. If you are applying for a sales role, here’s a more appropriate line, “Assisted in surpassing 20 percent sales growth by focusing on promoting in-store purchases while working at the register.” A more detailed description will show how you directly impacted the company.

Mishap #2: Your resume is half a page/your resume exceeds three pages.

Believe it or not, I have edited peers’ resumes who missed the length portion by a longshot. A factor that contributes to length mishaps is experience and skillsets. For instance, new college graduate may have multiple internships and small jobs while a longtime vet has extensive learned skillsets and long-term jobs. This may seem like a no-brainer, but there are a few rules to follow if you want to avoid an accident. First things first, a job candidate who has extensive experience will have a longer resume than a recent college graduate with little relevant information. With that being said, anything longer than 2 pages is pushing it. Streamline information by including experience from only the past five to 10 years for those of you with a ton of experience. For college students, stick to the one-page rule. At the end of the day, everyone has different lists of experiences, but being conscious of length will keep your resume in the hands of a hiring employer or land it at the bottom of the stack.

Mishap #3: You aren’t including the right lingo.

Altering your resume for each position you apply for is critical, and one of the main areas for modification is the language that you use. Here’s a secret: there’s technology out there that picks up on keywords when recruiters sift through resumes that match up with the open position. The trick? Look at each job description you apply for and include some of the words from the description on your resume!

 Mishap #4: Employers find your resume not aesthetically pleasing.

You must be thinking, “this is a joke right? My resume isn’t pretty enough for employers?” Well, the answer is yes…in a sense. According to the same study done by The Ladders, “professionally prepared resumes scored better in terms of organization and visual hierarchy, as measured by eye-tracking technology.” Basically, this technology tracks how much effort a recruiter puts forth when scanning through candidates. The less effort the person has to exert, the better, because that means the resume is easier to read. To avoid having a messy, over-crowded resume, stick to a format with an appropriate font size and enough space between lines.

Resume mishaps can be difficult to dodge without proper proofreading. Sometimes, resume writing seems awkward and challenging because you want to do your best to impress employers. However, practice makes perfect and, by taking this advice, you can avoid the four mistakes above! Have you made any resume mishaps? Please share below:

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