Thinking about adding everything you’ve ever done to your resume? Don’t!
Why? You could end up just like a friend of mine, a talented, bright young woman who couldn’t land a position. Her kiss of death? Adding almost everything she ever did at every job, including the fact that she ordered pizzas on Fridays for her office.
Hiring managers are busy people. Many open positions can field over 500 applicants. The average time spent by a potential employer looking at an application is only 7 seconds. If you are sending a 2-page resume, you’d better be at the top of your field with a litany of accomplishments, and even then it’s rarely warranted. Want to send out a resume of 3 or more pages? Don’t even try it!
So, how do you get your resume to one page? Here’s a list of common pitfalls that might be part of your problem:
- Too Much Fluff. Maybe you don’t have on your resume that you ordered pizzas for your office, but you might have excessively flowery language designed to try to impress employers. Don’t! Employers care about your skills and accomplishments, not anything more, so make sure that every word counts.
- Fancy Formatting. Your resume is not supposed to be a work of art, so leave aesthetic considerations, especially those involving lots of unnecessary spacing, behind. Your resume should be written in a clean format that’s easily readable. Nothing more is needed.
- Repetition. Did you do the same thing in multiple jobs? Pick the most impressive job, or where you used that skill most impressively. There’s no need to write it twice. Watch out for repetition on your resume.
- The Good Old Days. Remember your job from 15 years ago when you were at a much less advanced point in your career? Skip it! Positions from more than 10 years ago should usually be omitted, as presumably you’ve advanced a great deal over time. Even if you’ve more or less stayed at the same level, there’s no need to go that far back in most cases.
- Put Your Best Foot Forward. Do you have major accomplishments that you’ve achieved in your career history? Put them on your resume, and if possible, quantify them (e.g. Increased customer conversion rate by 12%). Think beyond what you do at your job; turn your thoughts to what you’ve achieved. If possible, make your entire resume about accomplishments, and delete the duties.
Taking into account these simple tweaks, your resume will be on the road to being hacked to perfection. Good luck!
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