What’s the purpose of a resume? To market your promise of value to your target employers, and compel them to want to talk to you.
You do know who you’re targeting, don’t you? If you’re not working from research you’ve done on the needs and challenges of a short list of target employers, you can’t possibly create career marketing documents that will hit home with them. You’ll first need to go back and do your homework.
Remember that a resume is not meant to be a long document outlining every bit of your career history. It’s a marketing document designed to align your qualities and qualifications with your target employers’ requirements and needs, while differentiating the value you offer over your competing job seekers. It needs to contain just enough information to meet that purpose.
I use the word “resume” loosely to refer to whatever career marketing materials are the first things people see about you – online or on paper.
Your paper or digital resume may not be your first introduction to hiring decision makers. It’s much more likely to be your LinkedIn profile, if you have one (shame on you if you don’t!), and your online footprint in general.
Most recruiters and hiring authorities are busy sourcing top talent by searching relevant keywords on LinkedIn, and assessing candidates by what they find when they Google their names.
It’s all about capturing and holding the attention of your target audience. If you don’t do that within about 10 seconds, you may be overlooked.
Which brings me to “above the fold” resume writing strategy.
The top third or half of the paper/digital page, or the top screen view of a profile, has the greatest impact . . . and is the most valuable real estate.
Think of it this way. Whatever lands above the fold should tell enough of your story to sell you on its own. Everything beyond that provides supporting evidence and further details.
Some above-the-fold tips that apply to your paper/digital resume and LinkedIn (or other) profile:
→ Create a keyword rich professional headline with a brand-supporting tagline, spotlighting what you’re most known for. An example:
COO – Global Manufacturing and Supply Chain Turnaround Leader
Maximizing process innovation to cut costs and eliminate waste faster than the rising costs of doing business
→ Get your other critical keywords in there above the fold. Instead of just listing them in a box, make those keywords and phrases more palatable to readers by weaving them into branded ROI value statement “stories”, using the C–A–Rs storytelling method.
→ Understand that search engines pay most attention to the top part of any web page. Another reason why your relevant keywords should be in your LinkedIn professional headline and summary section.
→ Generate chemistry by touching on your personality and brand attributes – who you are, how you operate, what you’re passionate about, your leadership and management style, what you’re like to work with.
→ Numbers and metrics pack a powerful punch. Don’t hide them in the “Professional Experience” section. Put the 2 or 3 that will be most important to your target employers at the top.
→ Highly specialized (and relevant) training and professional development that would typically fall to the bottom of the last page, can be brought forward to above the fold.
→ Likewise, don’t bury a top achievement on the second page, just because chronologically that’s where it goes. Bring it forward to above the fold where it will have the most impact.