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6 Things You Must Have on the First Page of Your Resume

6 Things You Must Have on the First Page of Your Resume

September 2018 by Stella Petrou Concha

Reo Group - Resume template

Have you ever applied for a job you knew you were perfect for, only to not even get an interview?

You can’t figure it out – you spent hours on your resume, and you ticked every box on the job description. So what went wrong?

More than likely, you had the right information on your resume, it just wasn’t presented in the right format. There are six key things that must be on the front page of your resume – if they’re not there, then most likely yours will end up in the “unsuccessful” pile.


Put yourself in the recruiter’s shoes

The job of your resume is to get you the interview. That’s it. Your resume is a sales document.  Your performance in the interview gets you the job. To be successful and get you the interview, your resume needs to stand out and tell the recruiter or hiring manager what they want to know.

In an ideal world, your resume would be read end to end by the person who makes the final decision and has a thorough understanding of the role. But the reality is with many finance jobs, there can be hundreds of applicants and the first person to read your resume is probably someone from HR or the recruitment department. They generally won’t read all of your resume, and in some cases won’t fully understand the role you’re applying for. It’s their job to simply select the best resumes from the pile for the interview. To get to that stage, you need to know exactly what it is that the recruiters are looking for.


The job of your resume is to get you the interview. That’s it. Your resume is a sales document. 


The 6 things you need on the front page

With hundreds of resumes to review, most recruiters will only have time to skim read your resume, and most will usually take around 20 seconds to decide if you’re a suitable candidate or not. They will be looking for six key pieces of information.

  1. Education
  2. System skills
  3. Current employer
  4. Current job title
  5. Tenure in current role
  6. Key achievements

It’s the answer to these 6 questions – and how easy it is for the recruiter to find them – that will get you through to first base.

Reo Group resume template


Why are these things so important?

95% of accounting and finance jobs require both an undergraduate degree in finance and a postgraduate qualification such as a CA or CPA. This is a “tick box” necessity. Many candidates list education on the back page, but this can cost you – the recruiter may not read that far and just assume you don’t have it. So make sure it’s on the front page.

The systems you’ve used are also important – if you’re applying for a job at a company who uses Oracle, obviously it’s an advantage if you’re familiar with it. Having this up front will get you noticed straight away. For transactional roles like AP, AR, Payroll, or FA, system experience is one of the most critical factors in the culling process.

Click below to download the Word document of our resume template shown above.

Recruiters are interested in the company you work for because they want to know whether you are coming from a large or small organisation. Organisations tend to hire in their own image. Large retailer hire from large FMCGs. Large banking institutions hire from other large banking institutions. Small manufacturers tend to hire for other small manufacturers. Employers want to know that the work you have been doing in your previous role is similar to the future role you will be doing for them. They want to know you can hit the ground running and make an impact in the first 6-9 months. Why should they pay top dollar for a candidate that needs to learn in their new role?  These are the challenges we face in recruitment in reviewing relevant experience for relevant jobs.

Your current job title and description of what it entails will give the recruiter insight into what you do now and whether it’s a good match to what they’re offering.

Your current tenure is important – if it’s long-term, it will show you have commitment to the role, whereas if it’s short term, it will trigger a number of questions as to why you’re leaving.

Detailing 3 specific, tangible and measurable achievements means that you can make an impact in your role and this is what will ultimately take you from the interview to the offer. What gets you the job is your ability to articulate your achievements. Having it on the resume means that the recruiter will have more confidence that you will be a winning candidate.


The winning format

So you know what needs to go on the front page, but how should it look? I’ve included this resume template as shown in the image above – but here are a few more tips.

  • Always keep critical information to the left of the page as most recruiters will read left to centre. If you centre headings or put dates to the right, they may be overlooked – so always justify left.
  • Avoid using jargon and acronyms because the recruiter or HR person who decides if your resume is interview worthy might not intimately know the role you’re applying for and may have no idea what you mean.
  • Use the second page for the rest of your career history. When describing your previous roles, be sure to include achievements. It’s okay if your resume is more than two pages, as long as you have the critical information on the first page.


Remember – getting the interview is the first step

Your prospective employer will look at your resume in the same way that you look at their job description. It will spark their interest if it contains the information that is relevant to them in the same way their role captured your attention through a job description that appealed to you.

When you nail your resume, there’s a big chance it will get you the interview. From there, it’s your quality in the interview that will get you the job.



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