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Less IS More With Resumes

RESUME WRITER: Craig S.
CATEGORY: Build a Better Resume
POSTED: May 21, 2013 at 7:33 am

by Craig S., ResumeEdge Certified Writer –

Ah, the resume. Your testament to personal success. Your life is a novel, your career an epic. But will just seven pages do?

Don’t do it. Less is more with resumes. The resume is a marketing tool—not your life story. “An autobiography is a book a person writes about his own life and it is usually full of all sorts of boring details,” British writer Roald Dahl famously said.

A resume is more like an advertisement designed to capture attention, attract interest, and land an interview. Why is less more? Because hiring managers might spend as little as seven seconds reviewing a resume unless it commands attention.

“Many resume screeners will automatically toss multi-page resumes…they may groan when they get one. Longer resumes do not make people assume that you have more experience,” points out Gayle Laakmann of the Career Cup site.

“Just because your resume is longer does not mean people read more. Long blocks of text scare people. Longer resumes cause people to miss the most important stuff,” Laakmann adds. “You are not THAT awesome.”

Information Overload

Your resume is competing against cluttered email inboxes and file cabinets not to mention cell phones, computers, TVs, and tablets. A billion or so websites and blogs. Hundreds of advertising messages. A 24/7 media barrage. It’s too much. Sometimes only a sound bite squeezes through.

Your resume is likely competing against a zillion other applicants. Most resumes sent to large companies are impersonally processed by software that scans for job-matching keywords. HR managers are looking for just the right fit. Therefore, your enriching cultural experience with tribal basket weaving probably won’t help. Read and heed job postings to tailor your resume.

“Remember, when looking at your resume, think like the person hiring for the job and trim off anything that would be useless to them,” advises Lifehacker.com. “Consider your resume a template you should tweak for each job you really want. It’s tempting to shovel the same resume into the furnace of huge job sites like Monster or Careerbuilder, but you’ll get better results for your time spent if you take the time to customize it each time.”

TMI: What to Leave Out

We all know about “too much information (TMI).” TMI can be an unctuous form of “over-sharing” burdensome to friends or hiring managers. Sharpen the scalpel. Consider removing these unless they are directly related to the job:

  • Objective Statements: Outdated, vague, and self-serving. Focus on the employer.
  • Personal Details: Marital status, children, religion, year of birth: all TMI these days.
  • Hobbies and Interests: Maybe employers should care, but probably don’t.
  • Every Job Ever: Recent and relevant only; 15-20 years ago should be deleted.
  • High School: No, except for first resumes with no college or job experience.
  • Typical Tasks: These are assumed. What are your results? Unique accomplishments?
  • References: This goes without saying. Don’t waste the space.
  • Personal Pronouns: I, me, we. Use the implied first-person “I” instead of third person.
  • Little White Lies: Embellishments. Bending, padding, and fluffing.
  • Tedious Job Descriptions: Go for results, not tasks.
  • Irrelevant Awards: Golf trophies. Merit badges. Awards should support the job goal.
  • Fired? This one’s tricky. Some say keep, some omit. It’s situational. Go with your instinct.
  • Special Skills: List relevant skills for the job. Windows and Outlook don’t count.
  • Gauche Decor: Funky fonts, unusual colors, personal photos, fancy formatting.

What To Leave In

Once you’ve decluttered, the good stuff can be dressed up and packaged neatly. Succinct, clear, and readable. Gold was buried in all that silt.

“Think of your resume like a movie preview,” suggests Meghan Koehler of Workbloom.com. “In a preview you don’t get the whole story; you get an overview of the central theme along with a few significant scenes, just enough to capture your interest and make you want more. And like a movie preview, your resume should be presented in a way that exhibits your selling points and makes the reader want even more—which they’ll get when they call you for an interview.”

Crafting a great resume is an art and science, even after housecleaning. It’s a good idea to let a professional resume writer showcase your finest accomplishments, skills, and abilities to get more for less.

Whether you’re reentering the work force after a long absence, transitioning to a new career, or making your mark in your chosen industry, the certified writers at ResumeEdge can help. We specialize in resume editing, resume writing, cover letters, LinkedIn profiles, and interview coaching through our JobInterviewEdge services. Our writers are skilled in 40+ industries and have decades of experience.