When a recruiter is looking to fill a position, they will only spend a maximum of 20 seconds scanning your resume before making the decision to toss it over their shoulder or bring you in for an interview. Isn’t that reassuring? All that time and energy you put into carefully selecting what experience to mention and skills you have picked up along the way, all to be judged and adjudicated in 20 seconds.

Does this relate to you? Have you sent off a few resumes and heard nothing back? If you are looking to better position yourself in the market and stand out in a stack of resumes, then here are our tips on how to capture the attention of recruiters and potential employers with the first page of your resume.


What are recruiters actually looking for?

The first page of your resume gives the recruiter all the information they need to know. Recruiters are scanning for your experience, your past work in the sector and the overall state of your career, so if that is not evident immediately, prepare to hit the reject pile. A resume is used to weed out the unqualified candidates from ideal fits. Recruiters are instructed by their clients to find candidates who meet certain criteria. So, if they are asked to find a legal intern with an undergraduate degree, then anything outside of this specification will not be considered. Before applying for a job, check out the description and make sure that your qualifications and experience aligns with what they want.

The process involved in deciding whether a candidate is suitable for a role or not is extremely quick. Recruiters have been found when skimming resumes to use a decision-making model called Satisficing. This is where they will come to a conclusion based on the ‘good enough’ criteria, but not necessarily the best. This is useful as it means you are more likely to get shortlisted for an interview if you meet the minimum.


Make your Resume easy to navigate

If the person looking at your resume has to solve the Da Vinci code while looking at the front page of your resume, chances are it will get shelved.  Show them immediately why they need to carry on reading. Chances are they are looking for particular phrases, skills or relevant experience when scanning a resume. Use key words to ensure your relevant experience jumps out. Never forget that humans are highly visual creatures. Catch the readers eye by using headers and iconography where need be.


Show your personality

This may seem contradictory. One second, I’m telling you the importance of being factual and concise, and then the next I’m saying don’t be afraid to add your own flair. Of course, stick to the facts, but do it in a refreshing way which reflects who you are. Your resume is the first impression of you, so make it good. Spend time on the design, layout, and content on the first page. The employer may have highlighted a handful of key personality traits that they are looking for in a candidate. While this can’t be done on the resume alone and is usually assessed during the interview stage, you can implicitly show off who you are through the appearance of your Resume.

No one factor will decide whether you get the job or not. Your resume (if done right) will get you to the interview stage. From there you can come off the paper and show who you really are. We hope that we have helped you put your best foot forward. Best of luck!


If you are looking to really capture the recruiter’s attention on the first page. Resugraphic was designed and developed by career specialists using evidence-based research. Stand out from the crowd and tell your career story with Infographics.


Leave a Reply