How to Get Your Resumé Read in Five Seconds or Less!

  • Posted on: 3 November 2016
  • By: Denise

Your resumé has five seconds to catch an employer’s eye and compel them to read on. You may get eight if the reader is in a good mood or has nothing else to do, though highly unlikely in the recruitment world. If you don’t entice them to read past your name, you are out. :(

So What Can You Do to Ensure Your Masterpiece of Skills and Experience is Not Tossed Before the Five-Second Window Closes?

Simple! Take your relevant work experience, the unique skills and value you offer and fold it all into a two-line statement that solves the employer’s problem, meets the critical job requirements they need to fill and displays your kick ass confidence. Bam! Ok, maybe it’s not so simple. But once you get the hang of it, you’ll be on the fast track to turning your statement into calls for interviews every single time!

I call this your Confidence Headline. It is also called a Marketing or Resumé Title in the resumé writing world. A powerful headline is the first statement on your resumé that pops with confidence and instantly shows the value you bring to the employer. It replaces the Highlights or Summary of Qualifications, Objective, Profile and other sections you may have used or seen on resumés. Employers are tired of reading boring, way too long resumé openings filled with meaningless phrases such as results -oriented, self- starter and one of my least favourites, team player.  None of this gives them what they need from a job candidate. So try something different and give them what they really need.

Your headline previews your resumé story. Think of it as your career bulletin which immediately conveys your most important piece of resumé news to the reader. It sets the stage, an instant introduction of you and your best skills. An added bonus is that you will set a confident tone right from the start. From there, every single word and phrase that follows must clearly support your headline.

What Do You Write in Your Confidence Headline?

Write about your most important qualifications that bring the most value to the job and the organization.

Some Examples of Value You Can Bring to An Organization


International work experience

Specialized Skills that make you uniquely qualified e.g., web development/design, engineers, in-demand trades, various medical occupations - doctors, nurses, pharmacists, medical administrators

Number of years of expertise in your field

Certifications or particular educational requirements that you fill

Keywords of the job requirements matching your skills

If You Were An Employer, Which Opening Would You Prefer to Read?


  • Organized
  • Hard working
  • Attention to detail
  • Administratively sound
  • Computer literate


Confidence Headline

A military trained CT-155 Hawk Jet Trainer Pilot specialized in Human Performance in Military Aviation, safety error reporting/analysis and aircraft maintenance

You would never know from the profile that this candidate is an experienced, fully licensed fighter pilot with highly specialized skills in aviation safety. On the other hand, the headline says it all! It fills the main qualifications for the job, shows the specific unique value the candidate brings and makes the employer want to read further, all in less than a five-second glance. I know which one I would choose. By the way, this fabulous, talented professional is a woman and a former client of mine. Go fierce female pilots!

Once you master the Confidence Headline writing skill, you'll have employers reading well past the five-second window in no time!  If you would like to learn more about how to write your headlines with confidence and ease, check out my affordable, do it yourself course, The Confident Resumé System for Women.


Instant Training

DIY Confident Resumé

This course offers a DIY-style video training with a workbook and exercises to keep you on track with the lessons. At the end of this training, you will know how to create a resumé that pops with confidence, quickly gets you past the five-second screening, straight to the interview and on to the job you really want!