The 7-Second Resume Scan

Sometimes knowing the game is the first step in beating the game.


With over a decade in recruiting both independently and as a corporate recruiter, I want to share the recruiter's experience so you can better understand how to get your resume to the top of the list.

Your resume has approximately 7-Seconds to get noticed in the sea of resumes crossing a recruiter's desk. While the job market has rarely seen more uncertain times, one thing remains the same: Recruiters are still very busy. Whether there are a lot of jobs but not a lot of job seekers or fewer jobs with many job seekers - the balance of time for recruiters remains the same. A recruiter doesn't have just one job to fill - they are sometimes juggling a slate of 15+ job openings, each of which is costing the company money every day they remain unfilled. And as a recruiter, there is only so much time to view each resume that crosses your desk.

So here it is. Your resume gets a 7.4-second scan. That’s the average time a recruiter will spend on a first glance. They're checking off boxes in their head. Then a couple of things could happen. They might read on, save for later, or with a couple of clicks of a mouse send an automated, “Thanks for playing the game." And you leave with nothing to show for it.


What can you do about it?


Play the game better by knowing what they want to see in 7.4 seconds.

  1. Name big and easy to read at the top

  2. Job title – clearly communicating what is it that you do

  3. List of skills and/or accomplishments with a clear title so they can find it quickly

  4. Simple layout to Job History – What company, what you did, and how long were you there

  5. An easy-to-read font (Arial, Cambria, Calibri.. or similar)

Now that you’ve done this, give it a try. Set a timer and give your resume a 7 second once over. How’d you do?


I can’t guarantee you’ll pass the test. What I can guarantee you is that if you do these simple things you’ll have a better chance of your resume not ending up in the “thanks for playing” category.


If you'd prefer someone else guarantee your resume passes the 7-Second Scan, check out our professional Resume Writing Services.


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