Posted By: Deanna DeBenedictis

You want your resume to stand out and attract the attention of busy recruiters in a competitive marketplace. So you're doing everything you can to polish your credentials till they shine, and you're actively reaching out for the guidance and editing help you need in order to get ahead. That's a great place to start, but while you showcase your most relevant skills, you'll also need to factor in subtle elements of design and layout that can help your resume catch a recruiter's eye and stand out in her memory. Try these tips.

The F Pattern

Recent studies that track the eye movements of a reader facing a document reveal that in the western world, the eyes tend to spend the most time in the top left hand corner of the page. Attention diminishes as the text moves across the page to the right and down to the bottom. When eye movements are identified with patterns of light, as in an infrared scan, the top left of the page, the top line of text, and the first half of the second line are heavily illuminated. The bottom right hand corner of the page is usually left in the dark.

So what does this mean for your resume? Picture a large capital letter F, the size of a standard sheet of paper. Overlay this onto your resume and recognize that the letter shows where your reader's attention will be primarily focused.

1. Headings are Vital
The first half of the top line of your resume will receive the most attention, so make sure that this area contains at least one of the primary keywords that your recruiters will be looking for. Try to distribute your keywords heavily between this heading and the one or two directly below. This will make it easier to grab and keep your recruiter's attention.

2. Put High Impact Statements Side-by-Side
If your current employer is an industry leader, place this statement next to the company name, not below. The eyes skim rapidly across before moving down.

3. Keep Key Text Loaded with Information
The bars of the F are high value real estate, so make sure every piece of text that overlays these bars carries valuable, hard hitting information. Strip these areas of all business buzzwords and empty fluff.

4. Tell the Whole Story at the Top of the Page
Every strong resume opens with a high-impact summary statement that appears at the top of the page. Keep your summary tight, substantive, and complete. That means if there's anything in the entire document you need recruiters to see, reference it in the summary. You can add greater detail later under the appropriate heading.

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