The amount of time a recruiter spends looking at your resume is roughly six seconds, according to eye tracking studies. That’s not a lot of time! As a professional recruiter used to scanning hundreds of resumes, I know that it doesn’t take long for me to make an initial “fit/no fit” decision, and my ability to quickly locate vital information on a resume is a big part of this decision.

I work closely with members of our Armed Forces who are transitioning to new civilian positions. I know that this transition is not without its challenges. Figuring out how to stand out in the job search can be a job in and of itself. Visual design is a great way to differentiate your resume from other jobseekers and help you score that second look that’s so vital to advancing in the interview process.

Could your resume use a refresh? When it comes to how to design a resume, keep the following in mind:

#1: Highlight the most important data. During the initial evaluation of your resume, recruiters will spend roughly 80 percent of our time looking at six key data points: (1) name; (2) current title and company; (3) previous title and company; (4) start date (and if applicable, end date) for current/most recent position; (5) previous start and end dates; and (6) education. These data points need to be easy to locate and easy to read. If I have to hunt for information on your resume, there’s a good chance it will end up in the “reject” pile.

#2: Show don’t tell: quantify the most important facts. I routinely remind job seekers that every bullet point needs to count. Recruiters don’t have time to read your life story. We do, however, want to read about how you increased sales by X% over the past year or cut wasteful expenditures by X dollars. Use resume design to draw attention to your most important accomplishments.

#3: Get help from a professional team. If your design skills are limited to choosing between “Comic Sans” and “Times New Roman” in Word, some professional design assistance can make a big difference. The good news is that you don’t need to splash out big bucks for a completely custom resume job with an expensive graphic designer. Here at Lucas Group, we offer our job candidates resume design advice and assistance.

Design in general is increasingly important in the business world. Companies are looking for candidates who will go the extra mile – and your resume is the first opportunity you have to demonstrate that you will go above and beyond for them.

Have you recently redesigned your resume or are you thinking about doing so? I invite you to share your thoughts on resume design and the job search below.