Job-searching techniques aim to pass six-second test

Employers spend an average of five to seven seconds looking at a candidate’s resume.

Consequently, my resume has to pass the six-second test, before the recruiter decides whether to toss it in the “no” pile or continue reading. But how do I tell someone all they need to know in six seconds?

If you’ve read a few of my previous columns, you’d know that I am currently in a transitional period in my life. I am focusing less on the final stages of the phase I am in right now – last semester at Gannon – and more on the beginning stages of my next one – getting into the workforce.

But finding a job is scary. What is even scarier are the statistics about finding a job.

Assuming I do compile an exceptional resume, one statistic says it may not even be read by the employer. According to information compiled by the Interview Success Formula, many companies use talent-management software to screen resumes, weeding out up to 50 percent of applications before anyone ever even glances at a resume or cover letter.

I have to impress a “machine” before I can impress a person.

It gets worse. The website also reported that an average of 118 candidates apply for any given job. Twenty-percent of those applicants get an interview.

It’s like jumping from one hoop to the other – a corporate, crueler version of “Survivor” and “The Amazing Race” combined. Because even if your resume does make it past the elimination process, you know you’re not alone. reports other scary statistics, living up to its name. It says that 54 percent of employers are irritated by resume jargon while one in five said resume jargon is their biggest “bugbear.”

The solution might sound easy: eliminate “jargon.” But it’s easier said than done.

An employer looking for multitasking, critical-thinking and problem-solving skills in an employee will get a resume listing these skills – which he or she may consider “jargon.” How do you take it out when it’s a requirement of the job?

Just like employers get irritated by resume jargon, applicants get irritated by job ad jargon. The same job-search website reports that three in five applicants find it irritating, while 57 percent said it puts them off from applying for the job.

I personally have found myself wondering what this employer is looking for as I scrolled through the position’s description. More times than not, I just closed out of the window.

Six seconds seems like an incredibly short period of time to introduce yourself to a stranger, but the Internet is full of tips and hints, right?

Right. And while it sounds like a solution to my problem, it’s actually a problem in disguise.

Looking for job-searching guidance on the Internet is like having to listen to 10 people as they simultaneously give you advice on what needs to be done. You don’t know who to listen to.

I decided to use the university’s Student Success Center and save myself the confusion. Their tips were very helpful, and it was nice to have an actual person to bounce ideas off.



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