Your Resume’s “Prime Real Estate”

What to include in this critical area of your resume and why

As mentioned in Resume Red Flags and Gaps in Your Resume, the top half of the first page of your resume is commonly referred to as the “prime real estate.” You’ve likely heard that hiring managers spend 10 seconds or so skimming a resume before deciding “yes” or “no” for an interview. As cruel as that may seem considering how much effort job seekers put into their resumes, it is critical to remember that hiring managers often have stacks and stacks to review for just one open position.

There is a way to make their jobs easier and increase your chances of landing in the “yes” pile – pay close attention to what you have in the prime real estate. Be sure to include the following elements:

  • Contact information
  • Target job title
  • Summary
  • Key skills/core competencies
  • Job-critical credentials including licenses and certifications
  • Your top 3 to 5 career achievements (if a hybrid resume format suits your career and current objective)
  • At least part of your career history (if your most recent role is relevant to the position you are applying to)
  • Education (if you are a recent graduate)

Print off your resume and fold it in half. If the bottom half disappeared, would an employer have enough compelling data to make an informed decision about your candidacy? This doesn’t necessarily mean that the remainder of your resume will be ignored, however the content of your prime real estate will make a difference in whether it is read at all.


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