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Extending the 10-Second Lifespan of Your Résumé

A pile of résumés has all the excitement of an insurance policy

November 13, 2012 By Denny Hatch
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Presumably everyone has a résumé-in-waiting—waiting for that call or email from a headhunter or Larry Ellison's secretary.

Is your résumé a grabber?

Or is it as boring as a suitcase full of rocks?

Career Builder—an organization that knows about these things—says: "Employers only look at résumé for an average of 10 seconds."

Forget what your résumé says. If it looks like every other résumé in the pile—and it arrives without a cover letter—your chances of securing an interview are exponentially reduced (unless your name recognition in your industry is akin to Bruce Springsteen or Barbra Streisand in theirs).

[See the first and second images in the mediaplayer at right for a typical two-page sample résumé downloaded from the Internet. Imagine coming upon it midway through a pile of 200 other résumés.]

Will Ezell's Advice
In response to the story "Brand Yourself! Brilliant Concept!" earlier this month, subscriber Will Ezell and I got into an email exchange on the importance of résumé design and readability. Ezell wrote:

What get's a resume read is 2 things:

  • It drastically stands out and looks completely different; and
  • Social proof.

You of all people know how voyeuristic Americans are. 

My friend Francine couldn't score a gig. So we created a new resume for her (enclosed herewith). No cover letter required.

We asked her to re-submit her new resume to 10 companies that hadn't responded to her "traditional-style" resume previously.

Eight called her in for an interview, and 6 offered her a position. Like me, Francine's picky, and likes the opportunity to weigh all options, so she didn't have any problem stacking the interviews and accepted every job offer knowing she'd only end up going to one (her choice).

She told me the HR people didn't even look at her qualifications. Every question was about what the people said about her.



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