Why Resumes Fail the 6-Second Test

Why Resumes Fail the 6-Second Test

It’s not an exaggeration. Your resume has approximately 6-seconds to make a good impression on hiring managers and human resource professionals. Given the volume of applications every job generates, the the short “scan” time should not come as a surprise. That’s why you need an eye-grabbing resume for every position you apply for. It’s the only way you can quickly demonstrate that you are more than capable of handling the job.

So, how can you communicate your value in just a few seconds? Here are a few resume tricks to help you pass the 6-second test.

Make Your Resume Easy To Read

First, make everything extremely easy to read. The hiring manager should not have to sift through any heavy text.


  • Bullet points, not paragraphs.
  • Metrics to show quantified achievement.
  • Interesting roles/job titles.

In 1 or 2 seconds, the reader will make one giant eye movement down your resume to glance at your experience. Give the reader a reason to slow down and take a deeper look. The reader will likely review only the first couple of bullet points and scan for achievements. This is why bullet points with metrics, as opposed to blocks of text, are valuable.

Be Prepared To Network

Second, if you are changing careers — be prepared to network. If your resume doesn’t match the “conventional” applications in the field, you will need an ‘in’ to make sure your resume gets the attention it deserves.

Market Your Experience

Third, make sure your recent job title logically progresses or relates to the role you applied for. The reader is looking for relevancy and fit right off the bat. If your resume doesn’t reflect that, your chances will be shot.

Highlight Your Education

Finally, don’t forget to highlight your education. Unless you are a recent graduate, the education section should go at the bottom of your resume. Make your college or university bold so it is quickly found. Keep your degree next to it as well; do not align it on the opposite side of the page.

In truth, only a very small percentage of applicants are truly a proper fit for the role. This means the odds are not in your favor unless you can communicate your value fast and effectively.

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Does your resume pass the test?  Could your resume be revised?  Would you like some help in improving your resume?  If so, contact a Career Counselor with Lexacount Search’s Career Consulting Services.  If you are interested in learning more about open finance and accounting industry opportunities, contact a Search Consultant from Lexacount Search’s Finance Group.  Or, if you are a lawyer or legal assistant, learn more about open legal industry opportunities with a Search Consultant from Lexacount Search’s Legal Group.

Jacqueline Hill, Esq.

This post was written by .

Jacqueline Hill is a partner at Lexacount Search, where she places top senior-level and other legal talent with law firms and corporate legal departments across the United States. She has been writing about careers, lawyers, attorney professional development, and the legal industry for more than a decade. She can be reached at jacqueline.hill@lexacount.com or 215-740-0104, extension 101.

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