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Writing a Strong Resume: Get Ahead By Using The Above The Fold Method

September 09, 2022

So, what is the above the fold method?

The phrase "above the fold" actually began with the newspaper industry! The top half of the newspaper always contained the biggest headlines and most relevant information. If you were publishing an article, you wanted to be above the fold because that section of the newspaper was read by the most people. "Above the fold" means something similar in the digital era. Many hiring managers open your resume as a PDF and only the first half appears on their screens. You need to give them a reason to scroll down to read more. Using the above the fold method in resume writing refers to the top third of your resume that contains the most vital information about your prior work experiences and includes phrases from the official job description.

Each part of your resume matters, but it is the top third of your resume that must truly impress the hiring manager enough to contact you for an initial interview. We have a few of the best resume tips below to showcase your professional resume to a prospective employer within the first 10 to 15 lines.


Making Use of Limited Space

An initial instinct is to put as much information as possible in that first small section. However, a surplus of information using a small font size will strain the eyes of hiring managers rather than entice them to keep reading. Instead, use space wisely by only conveying the essential information. Here are some important points to note:

  • Contact information: Your name, email address, personal website (if applicable), phone number and other contact details should be at the very top of your resume.
  • Utilize white space: Strategically placed white spaces are a great way to make the hiring manager's eyes better focus on the text.
  • Font: We recommend using Times New Roman or another serif font like Garamond or Georgia for your resume. If you are searching for a more creative role like a graphic designer, you can use different fonts as long as they are easy to read. You should also ensure that your font size is at least 10.5.
  • Years of experience: Quantify the number of years of experience you have in a particular industry. For example, as a military data analyst, you can showcase your work experience by writing "Data Analyst offering 15+ years’ experience."


An Eye-Catching Profile Section

Your resume must prove that you are the best candidate for a specific job posting. MVP does not require that you write a cover letter, so a great place to display your talents and long-term goals is in a brief profile section or objective statement. Our team recommends reading multiple job descriptions of the job title that you would like to have before writing your profile. What relevant keywords are in each of these descriptions? What do you want your first impression to be? The profile section should be concise, say a bit about yourself and should always be easy to read.

Hot Tip: Do a free writing exercise to begin your profile section! Free writing is a creative exercise where you do not stop writing or typing for a set amount of time (5-10 minutes) without any editing. Write the first thing that comes to mind when you think about your long-term goals for this job application. Why are you applying? What did you like in your past jobs that you want for this new job? What do you want to get out of the job search process? The free writing exercise encourages creativity and often allows you to bring your passion to the final highly edited profile section. Once the free writing exercise is complete, edit it down to be roughly two to four sentences. You can also read the final version out loud to see how it will be perceived by hiring managers.


Your Most Recent Role

The top of the fold should also highlight your most recent role. You have the rest of your resume to highlight your extensive work history, but it is a good idea to show how the key skills and relevant experiences you gained at your previous position apply to the new position. Here are some helpful tips to use while describing your most recent role:

  • Use bullet points: Bullet points are helpful to convey quantifiable and specific information while naturally drawing the reader's eye to your relevant skills.
  • Use specific keywords: Re-read job descriptions for your ideal position and strategically place keywords into this section. You can also use an online word processor to see how your resume compares to other applicants.


Common Mistakes

You are now equipped to begin writing a fantastic resume using the above the fold method! The rest of your resume can include your career highlights, industry-specific accomplishments, soft skills, foreign languages, online courses, relevant personal projects and other important details. However, there are a few common mistakes to avoid.

  • Education section: The education section belongs at the bottom of the resume. It is a highly important section, especially if you are a recent graduate, but your educational background is usually seen as the cherry on top of an already fantastic candidate.
  • Resume format: A great resume has consistent formatting. A common mistake seen on multiple resumes is inadequate spacing or inconsistent punctuation. Our team recommends having a friend review your resume for grammatical errors and overall consistency. You can also read your resume out loud while slowly stopping at each punctuation mark to ensure that everything is correct.
  • Chronological order: After you place the most important information above the fold, it is essential to present the rest of your resume sections in chronological order starting with work experience and moving to other relevant skills or experiences (ex. volunteer work).


You are now ready to start writing your resume! Once you upload your completed resume to MVP, get ready to be connected with potential employers.

The next step is the job interview!


Read How to Ace Your Interview: 5 Tips To Get You Your Next Job and How to Prepare for a Virtual Interview next.