Your resume branding is used in different ways for different employer decisions. To personally brand yourself well, you’ll want to understand how 6 second branding is different than 15 second branding.

6 Second Branding

Your 6 second brand is critical because your audience takes an average 6 seconds to decide if you’re qualified or not, according to studies by TheLadders. Here’s how the decision is typically made:

  • Qualified/Non-qualified decision: The first decision made when your resume is visually reviewed is if you are qualified for the job. In just 6 seconds, your reader only has time to absorb a gut feel. Your reader won’t have the time to read the details of your resume, showing why you are or are not qualified. The qualified/not qualified decision is made much more quickly than that on average.
  • Decision isn’t made based on facts: How can your readers make qualified/non-qualified decisions based on the facts in your resume in only 6 seconds? News Flash – they can’t.
  • First impression: In 6 seconds, a qualified decision is based on the first impression your resume gives to readers. Better make it a good one – here’s how …

So how do you create a 6 second personal brand?

  1. Crystal Clear: To make the first impression that you’re qualified, your personal brand has to be crystal clear about the job you’re applying for and why you’re a great candidate.
  2. Generalist Branding Doesn’t Work: Employers don’t hire based on generalist skills as a primary qualification today … it’s secondary. Employers hire new hires to help solve a specific problem and that’s what they look for on your resume, even for generalist roles. If a hiring manager wants a generalist, he/she determines which candidate, that has solved the specific problem also, has general skills … through the interview, not through the resume.
  3. Concise: To brand yourself in 6 seconds you have to be concise. In 6 seconds, your audience isn’t deciding if you’re qualified or not by reading a paragraph. You need to be so concise that your readers can immediately absorb your personal brand into their gut … in the snap of your fingers.

15 Second Branding

Your 15 second brand is important because your audience decides if you’ll get an interview or get discarded in an average 15 seconds. Your personal brand most definitely is a big part of this decision. Here’s how the 15 second decision is typically made:

  • Decision based on quick scan: In 15 seconds, all your readers do is scan your resume quickly. They aren’t going to see a lot of detail, so you need to carefully select and influence what they will see in their scan.
  • First Impression supported by quick scan: Your resume’s personal brand is potentially the biggest way you can influence whether you’ll get an interview … or not. Yes, your audience decides based on the scan, but your personal brand is what sticks in your reader’s gut.
  • Top Half: In 15 seconds, all your reader sees is the top half of your first page, because with Applicant Tracking System pre-screening used by most employers, your resume will almost certainly be read on screen. Fold your resume in half – that’s the most your reader will see to decide if you’ll get the interview.

So how do you create a 15 second personal brand?

  1. Demonstrates Subject Matter Expertise: Just like generalist branding doesn’t work in creating an effective 6 second brand, it won’t work well in 15 seconds either. In deciding if you’ll get an interview, it takes more than just being qualified in today’s job market of job shortages and mass competition. Employers look for candidates who have already solved the problems the hiring manager faces today – Subject matter experts.
  2. Influences Gut Feel: Your personal brand has to be communicated so quickly that it’s immediately absorbed into your reader’s gut. A paragraph won’t do this … it’s too long.
  3. Supported: Increase the believability of your brand by including support for your brand within the bullets on your resume. Remember, your reader’s 15 second field of vision is the top half of your first page – have some supporting statements where they’ll be seen.

What kinds of changes will you make to your resume when you start to think about your second and 15 second personal branding?

Have these personal branding structures caused you to rethink how you start your resume?