So, you have what you think is a great resume, the only problem is it’s too long. Is this a huge problem, and will employers consider your application even if it is a little longer? Yes, it is a huge problem, and no-in most cases- employers will not consider your application for a job if your resume is too long. This said, you need to know how to condense a resume, to get the positive attention for your career qualifications that you deserve. How do you do this? Below we tell you how.
First off, what is too long, and why won’t employers consider a resume that is longer than this. A professional resume should be no longer than 1-2 pages, and this goes for even the most experienced professional out there. Why? Perhaps, you have tons of applicable experience and details about your career qualifications that you would like to share with a potential employer, and it won’t fit in 1-2 pages. Tough. Employers and hiring managers simply don’t have the time to look through resumes longer than 1-2 pages. Consider that-especially in today’s job market-that employers may get hundreds, if not thousands, of resumes for one open job position. They just do not have the time for long resumes.
Moreover, you should be able to give employers an idea of your most valuable career qualifications in 1-2 pages. If you feel you have a lot more to share and let them know about, allude to it in your resume; and prepare to tell them about it when you speak for an interview. This said, include the best achievements and most impressive responsibilities in your resume; and leave the rest out.
Section by Section
The best way to start condensing your resume down to a presentable length is to just start going section by section, and weeding out any details that are extraneous. Start with your employment history, and work through your education, skills, and other professional experience-considering each item with a strict eye for relevancy. With each item, ask yourself how relevant is this to the career and position that I am seeking? And cut out all that is not relevant for the sake of what is. This makes for a shorter resume, and one that is more direct and more powerful.
Eliminate the Mundane
Aside from a responsibility, skill, or achievement being irrelevant to the career and position to which you are applying; you may find in your resume that you have included a lot of mundane information. So, for example, perhaps you were responsible for leading a team of 20 in a successful company project, and as a part of your position, you also had the responsibility of faxing and filing documents-leave the faxing and filing out of the resume. You will likely find a lot of the responsibilities that you have do not have to be included in your resume, as they are mundane and likewise expected of the position that you have held. This said, cut them out and shorten up the resume for the responsibilities that are extraordinary and important.
Use Action/Result Strategy
Another great way to cut down on the length of your resume is to look at the way you have phrased achievements, skills, and responsibilities. Often, when trying to present a work function, applicants get very wordy; as they want the employer to understand. This can result in a lot of extra space being used in your resume. To give employers the concise information that they want, and also to cut down on space used; consider all of your achievements and responsibilities in an action/result relationship, and phrase them accordingly. So, if you were “responsible for a variety of office procedural tasks and functions such as faxing, typesetting, organizing, filing, etc…and so forth”, revise it to say something like “managed all office procedure and function so office administration success was met”. The action being the “managing” and the result being “success”. This will help cut down on the wordiness of your resume.
Lastly, consider combining tasks, responsibilities, and skills that are related in nature and/or function. In listing all that you do or have done, at a particular company; it is likely that you stated in two lines related tasks or responsibilities that could be combined to cut down on space. Whereas you may have something like this in your resume:
- Handled all incoming phone communications
- Responsible for email communications
You can instead, offer something like this:
- Handled all phone and email communications