Your Resume Part 1 – Assume the Reader is Lazy

People (like me) are lazy. When we were busy running (sprinting?) our company, there were so many times when we thought “it would be great to hire someone who could take some of these functions off our plates”. Money was rarely the issue when we contemplated hiring (especially entry-level, part-time or summer help). Rather, it was always the thought of the massive amount of time required to find the right candidate – time we didn’t have.

It takes time to draft and place an effective job posting. Every time we’ve advertised a position, We knew we were going to be inundated with a few hundred resumes.

I’m usually quite excited to receive the first few resumes (and read them all the way through). However, after reading five to ten, I get a bit lazy and will only take 15 to 30 seconds to scan the top of the other resumes. It just wasn’t practical to thoroughly read them all. Remember, for small businesses like ours, we were hiring because we had too much work and not enough time to do all of it in the first place.

This is why the first 1/3 page (15-30 seconds) of your resume needs to grab my attention and entice me to continue. If you don’t get my attention quickly, I move on to the next one.

The top of your resume has to make an impact and effectively answer the following questions:

  1. Who are you?
  2. What do you want?
  3. What skills have you successfully demonstrated?
  4. What have you accomplished? (most important)

Conversely, if you clutter the top of your resume with only tasks you’ve done or meaningless claims like “works well independently but also in teams”, you’re surely to end up in the “B” pile (i.e., the ones that don’t get the phone call).

Pay special attention to the first 15-30 seconds of your resume. The first thing that should hit the readers eye after your name is your branding statement. This is your escalator speech – imagine you and the reader going in opposite directions on an escalator. You must convey who you are and what you want in a few seconds.

Be interesting! The objective is to get the reader to keep reading.

Too many applicants waste valuable space at the top of their resume with unnecessary information (more on this soon). In many cases, their resume ends up on the “B” pile before the employer even gets to the good stuff at the bottom of the page.

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