According to research, the most valuable real estate on a resume is “above the fold”. That term comes from the newspaper business. I was one of the last graduating classes of old-school trained journalists. In those days we all dreamed of landing jobs and retiring from newspapers the likes of The Washington Post and The New York Times because we thought the “big papers” would live forever.
Righteous, full-sized newspapers, as opposed to “Tabloids” (we were taught to disdain), were presented for sale horizontally folded in half on news stands. We were taught in Journalism school that busy people read the headlines above that middle fold first, so the most serious news and most memorable pictures are always located there.
However, “above the fold” on a resume refers to the top part of a standard 8 1/2 x 11 sheet of letterhead business paper folded in half horizontally like an old-school newspaper. The last recruiter panel I attended pegged the average time a recruiter will look at a resume is 30 seconds. Imagine! 30 seconds to impress a potential employer with such stellar quality accomplishments that it will draw an invitation to an in-person interview. A resume, you see, is a bid for an eyeball to eyeball meeting–the interview. The real purpose of a resume is to get that “invitation to the royal ball” the job seeker is looking for. This feat must be done through a 30-second read of the information on the top half of the page.