Resumes and Cover Letters

Print Reading is Dead – 4 Ways to Find Out If Your Resume Will Pass a Screen Test

resume mobile

You’ve heard it before. Your resume must impress in record time – a matter of seconds.

To add insult to injury or proverbial salt in the wound for many, is that print reading is just about dead.

So What – you say? Resumes designed for print do not read well online—which means the key points you need to get across can’t and won’t.

Today, almost 100% of readers will read your resume on a screen, and the numbers of folks comfortable conducting that initial read on a mobile device or phone is growing by leaps and bounds.

If your resume does get printed out, chances are this won’t occur until much further down the line in the candidate selection process.

The four components below will facilitate a powerful skim read on screens both big and small:

  1. Career Title

Similar to a news headline, a one-line resume career title quickly tells the reader the kinds of roles you seek or your industry expertise.

Customize accordingly to show the reader you are well-suited for a particular type of role.

  1. Branding Paragraph

Skip the generic summary that could describe anyone.

Include instead a brief (four lines max) paragraph that describes strengths unique to you with language from job postings aligned with what the reader is searching for in an ideal candidate.

Also read: 6 Mistakes People Make When Writing an Executive Summary

  1. Bullets v. Blocks

Online readers have a hard time digesting large blocks of text – a challenge that increases as a screen size grows smaller.

Replace paragraphs with one- and two-line bullets that highlight your achievements.

  1.  Front-loaded Bullets

Skip the adjectives, qualifiers and lead-ins. Make sure each bullet leads with the achievement, so it’s the first thing the reader sees.  Here’s an example:

“Saved organization $5M via contract negotiations” v. “Led contract negotiations that saved organization $5M.”

Is Your Resume Ready for the Big (and Small!) Screen?

Try this at home. Perform these steps and have a trusted friend read your resume on their mobile device. Set a timer for 10 seconds and ask him or her to tell you the salient points.

If the points are spot on – your resume is screen worthy – the critical first step to landing that interview or phone screen.

Also read: What Really Happens When Recruiters Read Your Resume

About the Author

Virginia Franco, NCRW, CPRW is the founder of Virginia Franco Resumes which offers customized executive resume and LinkedIn profile writing services for the 21st century job seeker.