As a job seeker, your goal is to get a recruiter to look at your resume and bring you in for an interview. In order to do that, you need to understand what's happening on the recruiter's side of the table. Recruiters get hundreds of resumes, and they can't possibly go through each one. And they definitely can't go through each resume line-by-line. There's just not enough time in the day. That's why recruiters have learned to skim resumes for the most important information, which typically only takes six seconds. When a recruiter reads a resume, his or her eyes move down the page in a Z-pattern (left to right all the way down). They're looking for key terms that relate to the job they're trying to fill. If a recruiter finds what he or she is looking for in that first pass, your resume will likely get a shot at a more in-depth resume review. And, if they still like what they see, you might even get a phone call asking you to do an interview. So, it becomes critical that you pass that 6-second skim. In order to accomplish this, you need to make it easy for recruiters to find the information they need in order to move you to the second part of the process. How do you do this? You need to format your resume in a way that showcases your key skill sets, or keywords that relate to the jobs for which you're applying. If you don't highlight these things on your resume and make them easy to see, the recruiter is going to toss your resume. If you resume doesn't have the right keywords and doesn't showcase them with its formatting, your resume is headed straight for the trashcan.
Just like newspapers offering bite-size pieces of information that are easy to read and digest, resumes also need to be formatted in a way that makes it easy on the reader. If they're not, no matter how good a candidate is, the resumes will just fall to the wayside. Keep in mind that once a resume reaches the hands of an individual (or more like the computer screen these days), it's only scanned for mere seconds. Any sight of heavy blocks of text or unorganized information can take away from those important seconds that decide whether or not your resume is a keeper.