What's the most important part of your resume? Take it from a former newspaper editor: "Page one, above the fold."
That's how a resume is like the front page of a newspaper, and one of several reasons why writing a resume comes easily to me.
What does "above the fold" mean? Here's a comparison:
- THE NEWSPAPER — The top half of the front page. In other words, what a passerby sees while walking by a newsstand. If it contains something interesting, he'll buy a copy.
- THE RESUME — The top half of the first page. If the hiring manager likes what's there, it compels him to read more.
The comparison illustrates the impact of making a good first impression on your resume. If the details above the fold don't catch the reader's interest, the rest doesn't really matter.
You make that first impression when you spell out the value you can offer the employer in a section of your resume labeled Summary, Professional Summary, or Summary of Qualifications.
Or, if you really think like a newspaper editor, you can replace that with a headline that describes your value, such as:
- Quota-Smashing Sales Pro — for a sales professional who has consistently surpassed sales goals, -or-
- Certified Project Management Professional — for a project manager who wants to play up a critical certification.
Here's an example of what "above the fold" might look like in a resume:
Your address and/or phone number, email address,
and the URL for a social networking profile
Quota-Smashing Sales Pro
Highly experienced sales professional with strong, consistent track record of success in the manufacturing industry. Exceeded quarterly sales quotas 90 percent of the time, earning four written commendations from two CEOs. Helped boost revenue 10 percent a year over the past 5 years by aggressively wooing new customers from top competitors. Proven ability to advocate for customers' individual needs to help ensure repeat business and higher share of wallet.
If I'm a sales manager in a manufacturing firm and I need someone to help increase revenue and pick up new customers, I'd at least be interested in reading more about this candidate, specifically the accomplishments that support this statement.
To boost your chance of being called for an interview, pique the hiring manager's interest by taking the "above the fold" approach: State what you can do and how you've done it, which can give the hiring manager plenty of reasons to read the rest of your resume and a clear picture of what you offer an employer.
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