A professionally written resume performs better than the do-it-yourself variety. There. I said it. I write resumes for a living, so, while it would be counterproductive for me to hold a contrary opinion, my beliefs do not exist in a vacuum: a great deal of research about the resume screening process is performed by many organizations—large and small, year after year. Based on this research and my own professional experience, here are some of my key learnings:
Quality vs. Quantity: Only a tiny fraction of submitted resumes result in a screening call or first interview. The primary reason is that many job searchers focus too much energy on blasting out dozens of resumes instead of thoughtfully seeking fit and tailoring their responses. Are recruiters missing out on great job candidates because there are just too many resumes to review? You bet they are.
Six Seconds: A few years ago, executive search company The Ladders determined that the average amount of time a recruiter spends on reviewing a resume is about six seconds. Let that sink in: all those hours spent on planning, writing, editing, and proofing a resume and the average glance from the first person you need to win over lasts six seconds.
Visual Muscle Memory: Part of the reason recruiters have only six seconds is because the person scanning your resume uses their subconscious muscle memory—or “gaze trace”—to quickly scan the document for key information. In other words, their eyes dart to certain areas of a resume in a predictable pattern, and then they move on to the next resume. A strategically organized layout is essential because if you do not include information in the right part of the document, it may be missed entirely.
The Professionally Written Resume Performs Better: Because a professionally written resume presents relevant information where recruiters expect to find it, it efficiently guides recruiters to a candidate’s crucial information. According to a study from The Ladders, professionally rewritten resumes scored a 60% improvement in overall organization compared to earlier versions of the same resumes.
Regardless of whether or not you opt for a professionally written resume, now is the time to focus on your job search. We’re already in mid-April and have about six weeks until Memorial Day. In June, many job seekers begin to rationalize and put off their job search until after the summer and then, before they know it, another year has passed, and they still have not made the jump forward. The window of opportunity to begin your job search is now!
If you need support in planning your job search and creating a professionally written resume, contact San Francisco-based resume writer, Robin Kelley, at Resume Preferred to schedule an introductory call.
If you’re a senior executive and are seeking to capture and convey your value in the marketplace—and achieve the next level of career success—contact Leadership Career Consultant Amy Phillip.