“Extra! Extra! Read all about it!” That’s what newspaper sellers used to shout out to passers-by in order to get their attention. Then, once people saw the paper’s main story above the fold, the hope was everyone would buy a copy. But since no one shouts in order to get people to buying newspapers today, the headlines and layouts above the fold have to do the job. Similarly, you’re not there to shout about your resume in order to get the recruiter to notice you, so what your resume presents above the fold has to capture attention all on its own.
“Above the fold,” when applied to resumes, means the initial one-third of the page. This is where the reader’s eye lands on your resume in the first ten seconds – and this is when the person makes up his mind to either delete your resume or call you. Particularly at the six-figure executive level, this should be the space dedicated to your summary, profile, or qualifications section. Let’s talk about the key resume elements of a winning above the fold presentation.
1) Readability. Too many times, executive resumes present what I call “thick” text. Thick means the text is situated in a long paragraph. It’s an immediate turnoff because it looks like it requires too much effort. A paragraph anywhere on a resume, especially above the fold, should be no longer than five lines. If you have more information than that, break things down into two paragraphs. You can see examples of how that should look here.
2) Originality. Put yourself in the hiring manager’s position for a moment. He is reading 499 resumes every single day in which candidates begin by describing themselves as, “Experienced,” “Aggressive,” or “Professional.” You should be experienced or professional, so stating that word is a waste of space. Furthermore, “aggressive” doesn’t hold any weight. Instead, describe yourself in terms that convey meaning in your industry. For example, a government relations specialist who represents corporate clients could begin with, “Politically-savvy and ethical strategist.” Here are examples from other fields.
3) Significance. This applies to the expertise presented above the fold in your summary. Avoid terms that virtually all your competitors could say, such as “Organizational Skills,” and “Self-Motivation.” Apply this best practice instead: focus on key words that are meaningful in your specific field. For example, a marketing executive’s significant areas of expertise could be, “Branding & Messaging,” “Campaign Execution,” and “Competitive Positioning.” See examples for other types of professionals here.
In resume writing, being mindful of readability, then strengthening your summary with original content and significant expertise, all add up to a highly-attractive above the fold presentation. These are the elements that will prompt the hiring manager to read for longer than ten sections. This could definitely make the difference in getting more calls for the ideal jobs you want, therefore, making your job search that much shorter.
Jewel Bracy DeMaio has specialized for 15 years in how to get employers & recruiters to call you (instead of you chasing them). She just released “Resumes That Rock,” a free guide with resume samples, exact templates for how to write a resume, and resume words to avoid in order to skyrocket your job search.