Sell Screeners with the Top Third of Your Résumé

We’ve all heard the shocking statistics about how much time recruiters and screeners spend “reading” your résumé. Depending on which source you believe it’s somewhere between a blink-and-you-missed it six seconds and a probably-too-generous 20 seconds for that initial screening. You know the one. Where you go into the pass-along pile or the circular file.

That’s why it’s so important to pack the top 1/3 of your résumé with your most powerful value propositions and achievements. Here are three tips to give your résumé a fighting chance to make it past screeners.

1) Focus on Tangible Achievements

Write from your new potential employer’s perspective. Highlight what you can offer. Include achievements you’ve had that will be obviously transferable to your next position. Include specifics whenever possible like sales data, growth rates, percentage of work/labor saved, etc.

2) Avoid Generic Language  

Terms like “team player” and “detail oriented” have been so overused they’ve become virtually meaningless. If terms like these have crept their way into your skills summary, you’re going to need to dig a little deeper. For example, instead of saying “detail oriented,” show an example of how your attention to detail caused positive results. Something like, “Caught a proof error that saved the company a $1,200 reprint.”

3) Make it Pretty

Now, I don’t necessarily mean load your résumé up with funky colors and graphics. I’m talking about making it scan-able, organized and formatted in such a way that you’re paying close attention to consistent font usage, spacing and alignment.

Overwhelmed? Need some additional help. I offer personalized résumé review and writing services, as well as help with additional career branding strategies. Email me at

About Mitchell Langford

My passion is helping jobseekers develop the tools they need to land jobs they’ll love. From résumé review/writing to LinkedIn profile development and focused personal marketing materials, my goal is help relieve some of the anxiety surrounding your job search.

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