Why the 7-Second Rule is Important (and Why It's Not)


Every time I mention the 7-second rule, all hell breaks out. I know I will immediately divide the world into warring factions, and incur wrath no matter what. Just check out the comments section on this video.

All we are trying to say is that first cut is fast and indeed often superficial.

You make your first impression on employers when you submit your resume. Commonly (and unfortunately) your resume isn’t the only one up for consideration. It can be literally one in hundreds- if not thousands- of resumes. At this point, the recruiter must sift through all of these resumes to get this pile down to a manageable number. A quick (define it as you wish- 7 second or 20 seconds) is all they'll have for you.

Now, you might be saying, “That’s not fair! They should look beyond just looks and pay attention to what’s actually on there!” The reality is that most employers don’t have the capacity to give each and every candidate a full consideration at this very initial stage.

BUT - and here's what gives us the room to get in there and nail it - they are scanning for the good stuff. Their eyes are anxiously and wildly moving through the page as they attempt to get that pile down to 20 (from 200) while not missing out on their perfect candidate!

The first and easiest step is to have a clean, tidy, and relatively simple format. You want them to notice the key points? Help them out by organizing your information in an easily digestible format; put things in the places where they expect to find them.

There are a ton of ways to format your resume. Some are wildly creative and unforgettable, but our advice is to stick with traditional templates for most business careers and consider unorthodox options for creative careers - e.g. graphic design, web development, and social media.

Whatever it is, PLEASE make sure your final document is clean, concise, and consistent. There's no one set of rules (outside resume book requirements) and you decide how your resume ultimately looks. But we have spent a colossal amount of time obsessing over every blessed detail so that you don't have to.

The Careerly Resume Guide offers detailed guidelines on formatting, in particular on visuals, resume length, structure, font, and much, much more (like the recommended size of the left and right margins). And since we still don't trust you to get it right - kidding, since we want to literally give you everything to help you get the job, we’ve cut out the guesswork and created five Careerly Resume Templates. Just plug in your content and you’re good to go!

Ok, well, that content needs to be in the A - R format .. but let's save that for another day.

Thelan USA

Thelan USA is the expert in federal program management - strategy & planning, IT management, technical professional services - and with Careerly's addition to the family - human capital management, learning and development (L&D), and job skills training. 

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"A Wharton alumna shares the personal experiences that inspired her own dedication to others’ professional growth."

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