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Career Advice

The 7-Second Resume Challenge

Posted by Amy Elisa Jackson

Last Updated August 31, 2017

Could you summarize your work experience and skills in seven seconds? Even the most sophisticated professionals would find it hard to pitch themselves in under a minute. However, there is a select group of young adults who put the pros to shame, and capture the attention of recruiters nationwide.

Opportunity youth, or those between the ages of 16 and 24 who are neither enrolled in school nor currently working, are successfully doing the seemingly impossible by proving that they are more than what is on a resume. They are, in fact, an overlooked and untapped talent pool for employers. And in 7-seconds they’ll tell you why.

The campaign created by the Ad Council and Grads of Life, entitled "More Than What's on Paper," was driven by the insight that hiring managers spend 7 seconds reviewing a resume on average. Given opportunity youth do not have a traditional resume, the campaign was designed to show employers that these young adults’ life experiences have given them critical skills like drive and tenacity that are important in the workplace but difficult to convey on a traditional resume.

“Employer demand for opportunity youth is growing,” said Elyse Rosenblum, Principal for Grads of Life. “Employers are engaged and eager to build talent pipelines to bring these young adults into their companies and are using Grads of Life as a resource to do so.” From Chipotle to GE, AOL to IBM, companies are tapping this dynamic community for roles ranging from IT to hospitality.

Think you could tell your story in 7 seconds? Watch the below videos and be inspired. Then learn from these amazing young adults. The keys to making a memorable (and hirable) first impression in 7 seconds are:

  • Get specific. What is the one thing only you can say about yourself?
  • Get personal. Tell us something you learned in life that you can bring to the workplace.
  • Keep it short. 7 seconds isn’t a lot of time.





LEARN MORE: Employers interested in participating in the program are encouraged to visit www.GradsofLife.org for resources and tools that can help employers develop sources of talent by creating customized employment pathways, such as training, mentoring, internships, and hiring initiatives. 


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