Confessions of a Legal Recruiter: Tips to Pass the 6 Second Test

The 6-Second Resume Test

Law firms are bombarded with hundreds of resumes from potential attorneys every day.

It’s easy to get overlooked. That’s why you need to structure your resume so that you immediately capture the recruiter’s attention.

The Ladders published a study reporting that, recruiters spend about six seconds reviewing a resume. If your resume doesn’t grab their attention, they move on.

Now that you’ve got their attention, you need to keep them engaged and interested enough to schedule an interview. Substance rules the day.

Not sure if your resume will pass the test? Give your resume to a colleague and ask them to review it. After about 10 seconds, take the resume away from them. Then ask them to tell you what stood out? If they can’t note anything of import, better take the six-second test.

Follow This Critical 6-Second Resume Checklist:

  1. Name & Contact Information
  2. Certifications
  3. Supporting Media
  4. Professional Title & Summary
  5. Core Competencies (buzz words relevant for the position)
  6. Highlighted Achievements

Now let’s break it down for you to make your resume stand out:

  1. Name & Contact Information
    Your name should be in a larger font and or bolded at the top of the page so it is easy to see. Also include key contact information such as your phone, email and mailing address. Set up a generic email account that details your first and last name. Don’t use an email from your existing employer.
  2. Bar Admissions/Certifications / Speaking Engagements / Published Papers
    List any relevant Bar Admissions, certifications, speaking engagements or relevant legal briefs you published that highlight the area of law you practice. Note: These achievements are the top-selling points that recruiters look for. If you don’t have them, get them.
  3. Supporting Media
    Add hyperlinks directly below the contact area to include links to websites such as LinkedIn or articles that showcase your skill-set as an attorney.
  4. Professional Title & Summary
    Brief summary no more than three to five sentences that are clear, concise and cover three critical points:
    Why are you qualified and what makes you an ideal candidate for this type of role?
    In addition to a summary detail the skills relevant for this position that highlighting your strengths and the area of law you practice.
  5. Core Competencies
    List your core competencies and the key buzzwords to summarize your expertise.
  6. Highlighted Achievements
    Highlight the cases and trials you’ve won, especially those significant and relevant to the position you are apply for.

Important Final Thoughts

  • Omit any references to your birthdate, marital status, or religion.
  • Improve readability by increasing line spacing by at least 120% of the font size.
  • Make it easy to read by adding divider lines between sections.

Your resume should tell a story about why you are the best fit for this firm. Mention specifically how you will improve the bottom line with your unique qualifications. Focus on yourself and how you will make it rain for the firm.

About On Balance Search
On Balance offers great insight and industry intelligence. Shari Davidson, president of On Balance Search Consultants, advises experienced attorneys at every stage of their career to take them to the next level. From making the lateral partner move to succession planning.

Shari takes a proactive approach to advising law firms on how to take a firm to the next level and helps rising talent make the transition to the right law firm. On Balance Search identifies opportunities that exist today, not down the road.

Contact us today. Call 516.731.3400 or visit our website at

Please note that the content of this blog does not constitute legal advice and is only intended for the educational purpose of the reader. Please consult your legal counsel for specifics regarding your specific circumstances and the laws in your states pertaining to social media and any legal restrictions regarding the law.