Regardless of how qualified you are for a position, your resume, on average, will be viewed by a recruiter for just 7.4 seconds.
Shocked? That's actually up from the six seconds recruiters spent on resumes in 2012.
Those numbers are from a recent study released by the career site Ladders. CEO Marc Cenedella explains that this figure is a reflection of how "resume-skimming behaviors impact not only a job seeker's chances of being noticed, but also a company's ability to spot qualified candidates."
The current economy favors employees who want better pay and benefits, and so it's crucial that job seekers submit a resume that will maximize their chances of getting what they want. Below, Cenedella tells CNBC Make It about three key ways to make your resume stand out from the competition.
1. Choose a simple layout
According to Cenedella, one key trait of a top-performing resume is a simple layout that's easy to read.
"Resumes are not written for you to enjoy how they look," he says. "Resumes are written for you to communicate to recruiters and hiring managers what you can do."
Cenedella emphasizes that one of the biggest mistakes job seekers can make is to lay out their resume based on their own creative preferences, rather than professional standards. That, he says, can lead to "errors like multiple columns and visual scales for describing your accomplishments."
"It ultimately just shoots you in the foot."
Instead of trying to glamorize your resume, Cenedella says to focus on creating clearly-marked sections with bold titles and concise bullet points that outline your work. You should also choose an easy-to-read font that doesn't make the text too overwhelming.
2. Provide a detailed overview or mission statement at the top
Cenedella says that the top third of your resume plays a crucial role in helping you land a job. Hiring managers view hundreds of applications within a short time-frame, so it's imperative that you get right to the point.
"Your mission statement should have three lines," he explains. "The first line is about the job you would like to get in the future. The second line is about the specific skills you have that are most appropriate for your next job. The third is about your accomplishments."
Ultimately, he says "you want to show that you are the type of person who should be at the next level."
3. Keep it to one page
If hiring managers spend just a few seconds reviewing resumes, then it's likely that multiple-page documents will get little to no attention. That's why, Cenedella says, you should always submit a concise resume that's no more than one page and includes short, straight-to-the-point sentences.
The only exception? If you're a seasoned professional with 10 or more years of experience. Even then, he emphasizes that you should stick to a strict two-page limit.
"In no case," he says, "should a resume be three or more pages."
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