Whoa. A whole six and a half seconds? Imagine that. You spend countless hours writing the best possible resume only to have someone, who’s job it is to vet your resume, spend a whopping six seconds on it before deciding you’re good enough for an interview.
Kinda makes you feel special, huh?
If you read my book, It’s Not About You: How to think like an employer and get the job you really want you’d hear my full opinion on the sheer futility of applying for jobs through submission of a resume. But for the sake of this blog post I’ll keep it fairly short.
Recruiters are hired specifically to find the best matches for the job description they’re given. So on each resume they review they look for current and past employers that match the company they’re representing and specific keywords with regards to experience that line up with the job description, including the present and past positions worked. That’s about it, really. And the research shows it takes about 6 seconds for them to do it. So if you don’t have the right experience or enough of it, no matter what you do, you don’t stand a snowball’s chance in boiling magma of getting shortlisted.
So what do you do, especially if you don’t have enough experience? My advice is cut bait and move on. You’ll never get hired this way. There are always other candidates out there who have more relevant experience. And even if there aren’t, a recruiter isn’t going to move you forward with too little experience with the hope that ‘this guy just feels like a winner to me’.
Your resume does matter and it’s an important tool for you when looking for a job. But if it’s the only thing you’re using, you significantly diminish your chances of finding something, because it’ll likely get the ol’ six second treatment.
What I’d suggest instead is make a list of companies that you’d like to work for, then try and find someone who works at those companies. If you don’t know anyone in your personal network who could introduce you (this is always preferred), you can always cold call into the department you’d like to work in and ask to speak to someone. By the way you’ll stand a much better chance of speaking to someone if you’re not trying to talk to the head of the department.
When you get someone on the phone, say that you’re really interested in the company and that you’d really like to know more about their average day in the department. More than likely the person will tell you a little about her job, the company and what it’s like to work there. Ask good questions, listen to their answers. Try and build some rapport. Hopefully, if that goes well, it could lead to another conversation, perhaps even a coffee meeting.
You might think that this feels like useless busy work, but it’s really not. Many companies never post jobs or don’t intend on hiring someone until they meet someone they really like who they feel might really be a great addition to their team. On the flip side, even if the company isn’t currently hiring, you’ve made a connection in a company you like for your network who you can continue to meet with who may one day think of you when a position comes available. That way when you apply, not only will you likely escape the dreaded resume application route, you’ll have much more than six seconds to make a great impression.