In recent days, the internet has been a buzz about recruiters taking only 6 seconds to look at resumes before deciding whether to toss it or read more.

6 seconds.

That is definitely a bit depressing, right?

My career coach says it takes 80 hours of work to perfect a resume and, even then, you have to tweak it every time for every application.  Goodness knows how long we are working for that 6-second look.

But if your resume is effective, of course, you get a lot more than 6 seconds.

We asked the Artisan Recruiters about their thoughts on resumes and whether the 6-second rule really applies:

Account Manager, Carol Conforti, looks at resumes for more than six seconds, but often looks at a portfolio first so she can relate the work to the experience. Carol feels that creative staffing is different from typical recruiting, as often a few creative hands go into making a campaign and job titles can vary from company to company. However, if the resume is from someone that is not local and the client is not willing to relocate anyone, they get a shorter look.

MD, Katty Douraghy, definitely spends more than 6 seconds looking at resumes but, like Carol, weighs portfolios more heavily since we are a creative agency.  Katty looks at resumes for: keywords, gaps in employment, agency vs. client-side history and evidence of leadership skills. She checks for longevity and if jobs were for a short time or whether they were clearly freelance projects.  It takes more than 6 seconds to do a thorough job.

Creative Recruiting Manager, Jamie Grossman, looks first for at least one well-recognized company, industry or brand, but if the candidate is just out of school, she considers where they went. If a talent does not meet the bare qualifications – you can tell pretty quickly they are not going to be right.  But that often requires much more than 6 seconds on average.

Account Manager, Jess Bedford, says the better formatted a resume, the longer she spends looking at it. She likes the use of bold, underlining and bullet points to make it easy to read.  Short descriptions of companies are also helpful to get a sense of industry experience. Education should always be at the end and the information should be contained to one page.

We all hope that our resumes get a good look – and we can definitely always improve them. A few key takeaways:

  • Make sure you are using the keywords from the job description in your bullet points or Summary.
  • Be as specific as possible about your responsibilities and achievements, especially where you showed leadership.
  • Leave some white space to keep it clean and clear.
  • Never neglect the importance of a portfolio when applying for creative roles.

Good luck!

Wendy Stackhouse, for Artisan Creative