Does your resume pass the 20 second test?

7 Tips for Getting Your Resume Noticed in 20 Seconds

Your resume has only 20 seconds to get noticed. Be sure to use these tips to get your resume noticed in 20 seconds?

Tips for writing attention grabbing resumesIt’s a tough job market out there and recruiters and hiring managers often have tens or hundreds of resumes submitted for each job posted. A resume has to be formatted correctly so it’s not tossed out by Applicant Tracking Systems, and it has to be written so it grabs the reader’s attention in 20 seconds or less. Here are 7 rules that I follow when writing resumes for my clients:

1. Use a font that’s easy to read.

I use the Tahoma font on the resumes I compose for my clients. Tahoma is a non-serif font that comes with the Windows and Mac operating systems, and it’s easy to read on a computer screen.

2. Add a branding statement at the top of the resume.

The top 1/4 of the first page of the resume is the section that is most often read – so this portion must POP! The first line of the resume (under the applicant’s contact information) should state the job that you are targeting – the job that you want. On the next line add the branding statement, a one line description of what you do best.

3. Include impressive numbers in the summary paragraph.

A summary paragraph should follow the branding statement on the resume. When at all possible, add impressive, quantifiable information to the paragraph. Companies want to hire professionals who will help their bottom line, so be sure to add that information to the summary paragraph since that is the paragraph with the best chance of being read. Here’s a good example from a summary paragraph that I’ve written, “Spearheaded a $300M oil and gas origination and marketing business…”

4. Don’t forget the Core Competencies section.

Add the Core Competencies section below the summary paragraph. The Core Competencies section is a nicely formatted list of your professional skills and areas of expertise. This list is rich in the keywords that automated Applicant Tracking Systems are looking for when scanning hundreds of resumes.

5. Use verticle spacing to guide the reader through your resume.

Resume formatting is so important. It makes all the difference between a document that is chore to read and a properly formatted resume that uses white space to tell the reader when one detailed job or role ends and the next begins. Each major section of the resume – Experience & Achievements, Professional Certifications, Education, etc. – should be set off with spacing above and below the heading.

6. Write a paragraph describing your job responsibilities.

For each job that you’ve had over the past 10 years include a 4-6 sentence paragraph that describes your most important job responsibilities.

7. List 4-5 bullet points for each job – but don’t overdo it.

For each job you’ve had over the past 10 years, add 4-5 bullet points that list your top 4-5 accomplishments. Be sure to differentiate between job responsibilities (see #6 above) and accomplishments. For a stronger resume, describe your accomplishments in quantifiable terms. Here’s a good example of a well written bullet point, “Reduced audit feeds by 30% in fiscal 2008 by driving efficiency and process improvements across the SOX compliance program.”


Make an investment in your future with a resume / CV and cover letter written by Vivian Adkins, CPRW of Foremost Resumes. Foremost Resumes offers affordable resume writing services – resume prices are published here. If you have any questions about my resume services, call or text 1-321-442-7994.

Resume writing services include:

-Executive Resume Package
-Professional Resume Package
-Entry Level Resume Package for Graduates
-Military Resume Package
(LinkedIn Profile Improvement Add-On Service available for all resume writing packages)

If you found this post helpful, I’d be grateful if you would help spread it by emailing it to a friend, or sharing it on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, or Google+.

Thank you!

—Vivian Adkins, Resume Writer at Foremost Resumes

About Author

Vivian Adkins, CPRW
Vivian Adkins, CPRW is the owner of Foremost Résumés and a Certified Résumé Writer. On this blog you can learn about résumés, how LinkedIn can help with your job search, how to conduct an online job search, and more.
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