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4 Ways to Keep Your Resume Short and Sweet

Synopsis

When you’re conducting a job search, you need to know how to write a good resume. Considering that most recruiters make their decision on you within the first minute of viewing your resume, it’s important that it is concise. Ideally, your resume should only be a single page.


When you’re conducting a job search, you need to know how to write a good resume. Considering that most recruiters make their decision on you within the first minute of viewing your resume, it’s important that it is concise. Ideally, your resume should only be a single page.

This may seem difficult, but the fact is that most people’s resumes are too long, not too short. A recruiter usually won’t spend more than a couple minutes reviewing your resume, which means all the important information should be front and center. Here are some helpful resume tips to get yours down to one page.

Make the Most of Every Line

Whenever possible, it’s best to put similar information on the same line. It’s easy to get into the habit of starting a new line for just about everything, but that’s not an efficient use of your space. For example, if you’re listing details about your time in college in your education section, don’t put your college’s name, your graduation date, your major and any honors you received on separate lines. You can keep most or all of those together and use much less space.

Try to avoid sentences and bullet points that trail over onto a new line. See if you can tighten up the wording on these so that they only take up one line instead of two.

Stick to Three or Four Sections

What you put on your resume depends on your past experience, but there’s hardly ever a need to go beyond your contact information, your work experience, your education and your skills. You can arrange these sections based on what you think sells you best, putting the most impressive section near the top. If you have excellent work experience, you could start with that. If you just graduated from a top-tier university, then it is best to lead with that.

Other sections are unnecessary and only serve to take up space. This includes the objective, which is outdated. You can include a short summary of yourself and your qualifications. If you do this, put it right below your contact information and don’t waste a line to include a heading for the word “Summary.” Your summary doesn’t need a heading, as any recruiter will know what it is right away.

Put Contact Info on One Line

One big mistake people on a job search make is including their full address in their contact information. You don’t need this on a resume, and in fact, it’s safer not to have your complete address floating around on every copy of your resume that’s out there. Your city is sufficient, and you can add your ZIP code if you want to be more exact.

By eliminating the street address, you should easily be able to fit all your contact info, including your city, phone number, email address and any relevant social media accounts, on one line. You can use vertical bars to separate everything.

Get Rid of the Fluff

This is where you need to be completely ruthless about what stays and what goes. If something on your resume isn’t going to help you land a job, then it probably needs to go. Fluff can include items in your job history, education or skills. Here are some common examples of fluff in each of those sections.

Job History

First of all, you don’t need to include every job you’ve ever had on your resume. You should provide a complete picture of your recent professional history, but odd jobs you did on the side or jobs from when you were young are unnecessary.

Don’t overdo it with descriptions for your previous jobs. All you need to do is explain a bit about each position and any performance highlights from your time at that company.

Education

Include only your highest level of education on your resume. If you’ve graduated college or even if you’re currently attending college, you don’t need to include anything about high school – recruiters will already understand that you’ve got your high school diploma.

You can mention accolades you received in school and extracurricular activities, but make sure you pick a select few. If you list too many, recruiters won’t pay attention to any of them.

Skills

This section often has the most fluff because jobseekers think including a variety of skills will give them a better chance of landing an interview. That couldn’t be further from the truth.

It’s good to list your objective skills, as these can come in handy and also mean that you won’t require training in certain areas. For example, you should definitely mention if you’re proficient in using WordPress or if you’ve fluent in another language. Skills like those can be valuable to a company.

Subjective skills, also known as soft skills, are the ones to avoid. These include leadership, time management and communication. The problem with listing subjective skills is that they’re meaningless to recruiters because there’s no way of knowing if they’re accurate. Just because you think you’re a great leader doesn’t mean everybody else does. Make sure you also avoid including anything about your work ethic or attitude. These are just clichés that anyone can apply to themselves.

Final Thoughts

Although trimming your resume may initially seem like a daunting task, it’s actually not that difficult. All you need to do is figure out what information is important, and then get the formatting right. If your resume still isn’t one page after that, then you likely need to make some additional cuts.

If you’re having a hard time, ask someone for a second opinion. You could hire a professional resume designer to help or talk to a friend. It’s often easier for someone with an unbiased view to know what to take out.

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