It’s been said before – your resume has between six and 20 seconds to get past that initial skim read and into the “keep” pile for a second, deeper read.

In fact – the first “read” is really a misnomer because it is actually a scan designed to quickly answer several key questions.

If you’re not getting a call back after submitting your resume for countless roles, it may very well be because answers to three critical questions aren’t answered or are not quick and easy to find.


If a reader has to scan through past job titles to figure out the roles for which you are best suited, then the answer to “what role do you seek” is not easy to find.

Include a career title at the top of the resume just below your contact information to show the reader the roles for which you are ideally-suited. Not sure what to put? Let the job posting serve as your guide.

Tweaking the career title based on jobs of interest is a great way to customize a resume in a place that readily captures the reader’s attention.

Customizing the title also allows you to transform the resume:

FROM industry-neutral (Technology Executive)

TO niche-specific (Financial Services Technology Executive)

OR tell the reader a bit more about yourself right off the bat (Technology Executive Specializing in Access & Identity Management)


A strong branding paragraph below the career title goes into detail for the reader exactly how you are ideally suited for the role at hand. It also sets the stage for the rest of the resume.

Be sure to weave in applicable phrasing and language from job postings with information about your unique skills, traits and achievements.

Stay away from generic phrasing and be sure to include highly-specific information (size of teams managed, scope of budgets, etc.) to leave no doubt the paragraph could only be referring to you.


Readers want a brochure of achievements, not a blueprint of responsibilities. Rather than a laundry list of every responsibility that comes with your job, show the reader what you’ve accomplished.

When it comes to resume reading, numbers speak more quickly and certainly louder than words, so quantifiable achievements are ideal.

Having trouble measuring your achievements? Ask yourself:

☑ Did I save money?

☑ Did I save time?

☑ Did I contribute to the company’s bottom line?

☑ Are people happier because of me and by how much?

☑ How many people did I promote?

☑ How many are now in higher positions because of my leaderships

☑ How much did the company grow in size or revenues during my tenure?

Easy to Find Answers

Answers to these three questions in the right locations will ensure the reader walks away with a strong idea of the role for which you are well-suited, why you are perfect for it, and how your performance aligns with the position.

These simple actions will go a long way toward giving your resume the chance it deserves and get put in the “keep” pile for a deeper look.

Interested in learning more about getting your career documents ready for today’s readers?

Check out my Emergency Career Toolkit – a series of 8 short and sweet videos that explain the techniques I employ with my clients to create resumes, LinkedIn profiles and cover letters that land interviews in 60 days.