Six Seconds to Make an Impact

Recruiters spend countless hours reviewing resumes and screening candidates. In fact, according to a quantitative eye tracking study, recruiters spend so much time scanning resumes, they can often do it in 5-7 seconds. As disappointing as that may be given all the hard work you put into your resume, it’s a reality.

So how can you make your resume stand out with such a small amount of time to make an impression? Continue reading to learn some valuable tips and tricks!

The length: Have you ever read a news article, short story, blog, etc. and thought to yourself “Get to the point already?” Well, recruiters have this same thought when they read over a five-plus-page resume.

Your resume is not meant to be a comprehensive list of every job you’ve ever held, every award you have ever received, and every club or activity you have been associated with. To make the best impression, list those things that are most important to the job at hand and keep your resume to 1-2 pages.

Tip: spend time creating different resumes for different positions!

Branding Statement: A successful resume today replaces “this is what I want” objective statement with “this is the value that I offer.” Your branding statement should be very brief. The purpose should provide a description of you, your attributes, the value that you provide to the employer, and things that differentiate you from your competition.

Aesthetics: Purple is my favorite color, and although I may appreciate your periwinkle colored Edwardian Script font, other recruiters may find it distracting and unprofessional. Make it simple for the recruiter to easily navigate through your resume. Use block and column templates to fill white spaces and balance the page. Only use standard fonts throughout the resume, using fancy fonts can be distracting. Black text on white paper is the easiest to read, so avoid using colored text. Consistency is key.

Employment History: This is one of the biggest and most important sections of your resume. This is where you demonstrate your actual hands on experience and accomplishments in the field. With only 5-7 seconds to make an impact, it’s important that your employment history is organized, relevant, and accurate. Below are things to consider when listing employment history:

  • Use Bullets Instead of Paragraphs: No recruiter will have the time (or patience) to read long paragraphs of text. Use bullet points and short sentences to describe your experiences.
  • List Relevant Experience: If you have job experiences that are not relevant to the current opportunity, you should just omit them. Mentioning that you used to wash cars as a part-time high school job probably wont’ help you get that revenue cycle project management position.
  • Include the Basics: List the name of facilities/consulting firms that you have worked with including the title and dates of employment. Also include the vendor you worked with and the modules utilized. (Note: if you say that you have worked with Epic Beacon, your resume should reflect that)
  • Avoid Jargon: Do not assume that the employer will know what you are talking about. The person reading your resume for the first time might not have any technical expertise. Be particularly cautious with abbreviations and acronyms.

Spell Check: As long as you don’t see the red or blue zigzag markings under words, your resume is good to go, right? Think again! Spellcheck was not designed for the IT or Healthcare industry. Auto correction can change HIPAA to HIPPO, PowerChart to PowerChat, or EHR to HER. It is imperative to review the spelling and capitalization of industry software, applications, and acronyms. Always proof read your resume multiple times, and if possible enlist someone you know from inside your industry to proof read your resume before submitting it. You can never be too thorough.

Bottom Line: Your resume may be the first impression a potential employer will have of you. In a competitive job market it is important that your resume is presented clearly, and makes a lasting impression. These tips will help craft your resume into a powerful document that is sure to catch the eye of recruiters and hiring managers and land you that next key role in your career.

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