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How to Beat the 10-Second Resume Scan

How to Beat the 10-Second Resume Scan

Jessica Holbrook Hernandez

Jessica Holbrook Hernandez

Global resume authority Jessica Hernandez of is a former HR Manager who partners with professional- and executive-level candidates to create authentic, branded resumes and cover letters.


It’s hard enough to get past the ATS software scanning your resume for the right keywords, but if you can get past it and get an actual human to review your resume, then you have about 10 seconds (on average) to tell them what they want to hear. If you can get their attention during the first ten seconds, then you have a greater chance of them investing more time into reading your whole resume and getting a call for the interview. So what are some strategies you can employ to up your chances of successfully getting past the initial ten-second resume scan?

Use a job target/title

At the top of your resume utilize a bolded job target or title at the top of the resume. Here you use the exact title of the position you’re applying for; this tells the reader you have experience in that exact position and you’re qualified.

Create a keyword-rich branding statement

I always advise clients to include a one-line branding statement beneath their job target/position title. It doesn’t have to be catchy (or cheesy, for that matter) but should be concise and speak to the value you can offer the employer. Think about what sets you apart from other candidates and the promise of value that you bring to the employer. Be specific too; being generic won’t help your cause.

Top load your resume with keywords

Use a bulleted section in the top third of the resume and put the most relevant keywords first. How do you know which keywords are the most relevant? Check the job ad. Chances are the keywords you need the most are right there within the ad. Be sure to put these at the top so they are the first thing the reader sees.

Accomplishment-driven statements are a must!

You should always tweak your resume when applying for different positions—and it can be as simple as reordering a few bullet points. Always try to put the most relevant accomplishment-driven statements first. If the reader takes only a second to scan the first bullet point, then you have the most applicable information first; and it tells them you’re qualified—you’ve successfully performed in the position before—and they should keep reading!

We utilize these and many other strategies as we develop resumes for our clients that help them secure interviews. Need more information on how to customize your resume for each position you apply to? Check out my recent article: 5 Key Areas to Target When Branding Your Resume. You can also get additional job search and career related advice by checking out our blog or following us on Twitter @GreatResume.


Article courtesy of the Recruiting Blogswap, a content exchange service sponsored by, a leading site for college students looking for internships and recent graduates searching for entry level jobs and other career opportunities.

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