What you put on your resume is part of how you brand yourself. But where you place information on your resume can amplify it … or bury it.

You might have all the right information on your resume that brands you as the superior candidate. But if you place that information in the wrong place, your reader won’t notice it when making the decision whether to offer you an interview.

So your personal brand consists of more than the words you choose. Your resume real estate also has a strong effect on your personal brand.

Remember that employers will decide whether to give you an interview or not in an average of 15 seconds. Also remember that your resume is almost always read online – Since so many companies (and their outside recruiters) use some sort of applicant tracking system, they digitize all resumes received.

In that 15 seconds, how much of your resume do you think a reviewer can read?

Realistically, all your reader sees before making an interview decision is the top half of your first page. Print your resume and fold it in half … that’s the information your reader uses to decide if you’ll get an interview. The information below the fold is rarely considered when deciding if you’ll get an interview or the discard pile.

This presents a conflict with how most of us actually write our resumes … because there’s a conflict with the traditional way most of us were taught to write resumes.

Because almost all of us were taught to write our resumes with our best stuff on the first page. Hey, being on the first page is fine if your resume is being read on paper. But the interview/discard decision is almost always made based on reading your resume on screen … so the reader can see much less right in front of their eyes.

When you have your best information on the bottom half of your first page, or worse on page 2, you’re making the assumption that anyone who is interested will get to your good stuff further down the resume. But remember … your reader makes the decision if they are interested based on the top half of your first page. Therefore, your reader won’t see your best stuff before they decide if they are interested or not.

In reality, when you put compelling information on the bottom of your first page or on page 2 … the placement causes you to lose opportunities.

So start to think about where you present the information that forms your reader’s first impression. Is it where your reader can easily see it on screen in 15 seconds? Or are you writing your resume in a more traditional way, which has you bury it further down your resume, past the average reader’s decision point?