The job seeker 10-second rule of thumb

Here's my simple rule of thumb for job seeking: You have ~10 seconds before hiring managers bounce to another candidate or decide to take the next step with you.

"Next step" translates to roughly two things:
a) Spending more than 10 seconds on your resume, portfolio, or LinkedIn.
b) Contacting you directly.

But hold on, is 10 seconds my recommendation for standard operating procedure as recruiters and hiring managers? Of course not. Yet regardless of how much time they actually spend, your most important info should be quickly digestible. Ten seconds or ten hours, don't bury the lede.

Here's how you can use the 10-second rule of thumb to your advantage:

1) Optimize your resume for 10 seconds.

The most important thing I will look at as a hiring manager is the most recent role you've held, beginning with the job title. It's perfectly OK to adjust your job title in an ethical way. For example, if you're applying for a role with the title of "Senior Product Designer" and your most recent role is "User Experience Designer II" with similar qualifications and leveling, changing your title to Senior Product Designer is not unethical in my book.¹

After this, I will scan 1-2 sentences or 2-3 bullets for your most recent role to see if they align with the one I'm hiring for. Then I'll scan the next couple of roles mostly looking at titles, duration, and company.²

2) Optimize your LinkedIn for 10 seconds.

Again, the most important thing I will look at is most recent role, followed by the short bio under your name and the first sentence of your About section. If I see keywords that match key criteria for the role I'm hiring for, I'm less likely to bounce.

3) Optimize your portfolio for 10 seconds.

Put your strongest work first and/or work you feel is most relevant to the role you're seeking. You might even give them a direct link to your best work rather than your homepage.

4) Bonus: Repeat the above when applying for a different roles, slightly modifying all of the above as needed.

Give it a try. You can user test this yourself by putting a timer on, scanning at a reasonable speed in the order I've listed here, and seeing how well you hit the mark.

¹ I take ethical behavior very seriously. It's why this tweet is pinned to my profile.

² Many hiring managers give unfair weight to reputable company names over lesser-known ones. There's not much you can do to counter this bias. But I promise the right hiring manager is out there for you, one who doesn't have such bias.