Over the last 35 years, I have reviewed literally thousands of professional resumes. We regularly review resumes from candidates and make decisions on which of these candidates to advance through the selection process for our client companies. You should also know that most hiring managers use parsing software to filter through many of the resumes they receive. When there are resumes selected they are quickly reviewed for relevance (approximately 30 seconds) and then passed on for further review. When you receive literally hundreds of resumes for one job posting you can imagine why we need to be efficient yet selective when advancing candidates through the selection process. With this being said, as a job seeker, you don’t have a lot of time to spend sharing irrelevant information in your resume because you will lose the attention of the hiring manager. There are three components to your resume that gain the most attention of hiring managers. They should possess above the fold content, a value proposition statement and include specific keywords. In other words, these are the words that are relevant to the job posting.
We know that some resumes are one page and we’ve seen 6-page resumes [CV] for MD/Ph.D. or higher-level management professionals. But I still find the most popular length for a resume is two pages. I ask that you keep in mind that the only purpose for your resume is to gain the attention of the hiring manager and to secure a face to face interview. So whether you decide to draft your own resume or use a consultant to prepare the resume that is totally up to you. With the ability to search the web for resume templates you will find that the tips I am providing to you will be just as helpful and as cost-effective to assist you in writing your own resume and literally saving you hundreds of dollars.
Above the Fold
When information is placed above the fold it is first visible when the employer loads the page on their computer. In the case of a printed resume [8.5×11], the most important parts of your resume are printed in the top half of the front page of your resume.
Content layout and placement is important because content that appears above the fold is what is first visible when the user loads the page… because of its high visibility, the content that you place above the fold should be the skills and qualifications that are most relevant for the job.
Value Proposition Statement
Value Proposition Statements are a key component of your resume. It lets the hiring manager know the value you will immediately bring to the job when hired. When you write your value proposition statement it is really important that you create it in a manner that paints a picture of the value you will bring to the company. We believe that a value proposition statement should be no longer than five lines. With this in mind, you should spend time developing an impactful value proposition statement. Key points to keep in mind as you develop your value proposition statement:
Identify all the benefits your skills and qualifications offer.
Describe what makes your skills and qualifications of value to the client.
Touch on the employers’ main challenge [wants] which should be listed in the job description.
Connect the value that you bring based on the job description.
Other candidates are also applying for this position. You will need to differentiate yourself as the preferred candidate for this job.
Your value proposition statement should describe; how your skills and qualifications will bring value to the employer, what benefits the employer can expect, and why the company should hire you for the position.
The keywords should be words or short phrases that are related to the requirements for the job. They are the skills, abilities, credentials, and qualities that a hiring manager looks for in a candidate. Take some time and read the entire job description with the express purpose of identifying keywords that are important for the function of the job. You should then take these keywords and incorporate them into your resume. In a short time, you will get comfortable in using these keywords in a conversational manner that conveys your core strengths for the position.
As you can see it will take some thought in getting these three components above the fold. Your resume will have to effectively represent you until you have the opportunity to get a face to face interview. But I know that with some thought, editing and looking for ways to keep the content relevant you will end up with an impactful professional resume.