I have recently been asked by a client about “the 7 second resume”. The title would suggest that it refers to the length of the resume (or CV). However, it is much, much more. It is understood that an applicant has between 7 and 10 seconds to impress the reader of his or her resume or CV (“CV”) – in most cases the recruiter, sometimes the employer self. The 7 second CV test is premised on the idea that the reader of your CV looks for 7 things in your CV (a second per topic). These are:Second 1: Show Confidence
How do you show confidence on paper? Start with your name in bold in the header. Set out your complete contact details clearly and concisely. Use a short profile summary or header sentence to highlight skills. The profile summary should be focused on highlighting the value you can add and the expertise you can offer i.e. “ask not what your [new employer] can do for you, ask what you can do for your [new employer]”.

Second 2: Social Media Links
We live in a digital world and depending on your career, recruiters or employers would like to see links to your career-relevant social media profiles; they also want to see you using it in a responsible fashion. Typically, LinkedIn is enough to show a professional presence. Do not include Facebook. The focus is on career-relevant social media.

Second 3: White Space
This is very important. If your resume or CV is crammed onto one page with 0.5 cm margins and Arial 8 font it says “I’m trying way too hard”. Guide your reader through each section of your resume or CV freely.

Second 4: Too Much Text
In line with the white space issue referred to above, long paragraphs and run-on sentences are another sign of trying too hard. You should be able to articulate a key responsibility in one sentence using power words and answering the what (did I do), how (did I do it) and why (did I do it) questions. No clutter.

Second 5: Statistics
This refers to quantified statements such as “met deadlines in 95% of all completed projects with Company X”. Or, “increase profit margins with 75% during the first quarter”. Important to note that we do understand that not all jobs will have quantifiable key responsibilities.

Second 6: Achievements
List them. Simply put, if you have received career awards (for example) and were a high-impact contributor with your last company / in your last position – it is assumed that you will do the same at the next company / in your next position. Remember, the purpose of your resume or CV is after all to sell yourself!

Second 7: Leadership
Can it be inferred from your CV that you embrace being a leader or do you prefer to rather perform your daily duties in the background? Remember, being a leader does not mean having a high-end position such as a MD or CEO or some executive level position. It simply means that you have “the ability to not just have a vision, but to act on it and engage others around you to act on it” to strengthen the team.

I hope this assist you to be more strategic when planning and writing your CV. Having trouble? You know where to find me.

Yours in writing
– Chantelle Hough Louw