QUESTION: I’m not sure what to put at the top of a resume. What are your recommendations to make sure I capture employers’ attention?
The top of your resume should contain: your name, your contact information and your professional brand. Through use of a headline and career summary paragraph, a reader should be able to understand your unique value to a potential employer within a minute. Be authentic and self-aware in your descriptions. Tell your career story as it matters to THIS employer.
I like to start with a statement that summarizes who you are as a professional and follow with a short paragraph that showcases the highlights of what you’ve done and what you have to offer. This will vary based on your experience and industry, but it should always start building a story that convinces the reader to keep reading. Be mindful of keywords the screening software wants to see as well.
Put the title of the position you seek at the top in large, bold letters. Underneath that, provide a value statement that lists up to three of the most important impacts you achieve for an employer. Then, summarize your related experience, provide a short statement of your leadership skills and values, and share a few of your strengths. Avoid over-used words such as team player, detail-oriented.
If your audience reads only the first third of the first page of your resume, they should know everything there is to know about you—the rest are supporting details. Start with your name and contact info, then write a compelling headline and statement about what uniquely makes you the best at what you, framing the entire career message you are delivering in the rest of the document.
After your name and contact details, put your career goal up front (“VP of Operations”, “Sales Leader”, etc.), followed by a short headline that defines your brand, such as “Delivering Over-Quota Revenue & Margin Growth.” Keep your resume summary to a few lines that showcase your core skills and achievements. You might list the industries in which you’ve worked or your reputation among colleagues.
A strong resume beginning includes contact information (name, LinkedIn profile URL, mobile number and email), a targeted job title heading, a 1-2 line, relevant-achievement-laden summary paragraph, and core competencies that are bulleted under the summary paragraph. This format encapsulates what you want and why you are qualified in a quick, effective manner.
Use your target position to select about 3 to 5 relevant accomplishments; don’t waste this valuable space with qualifications that aren’t essential to your dream job. Highlight those achievements in a dynamic, well-written profile at the top of the resume, and keep in mind that every word should help convince the reader that you’re a top candidate for that job. Make a stellar first impression!
Outside of your contact information, you need to answer the following questions: What do you do? What do you specialize in? How much experience do you have in your chosen field? This information can easily be displayed in your branding statement, which typically appears below your name and contact information. Stick to 2-4 short sentences to immediately capture the employers’ attention!
Answer the questions: Who are you, and why should I hire you? Write a succinct headline stating your title, responsibilities, and scope. Mention accomplishments hiring managers would love most, including compelling metrics. Awards and honors go here, too. Add a Core Competencies list to show your skills. Students should feature leadership experience and a GPA of 3.5 or higher.
Capture an employers’ attention with your unique value! Underneath your name and contact information, add a headline (i.e. the job you applying to) followed by a statement that gives a snapshot of what YOU can bring to the role to solve company points. Drop generics and be specific. It is your unique blend of qualifications, as it relates to the target role, that will win the interview.
The top section of your resume is prime real estate, your billboard. This is a perfect location to put your brand headline and immediately draw the reader in. The headline should reflect the title of the position you are applying for as closely possible. Adding a short tagline directly underneath that highlights the value you bring is a great way to distinguish yourself from other candidates.
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