Many of our clients come to us with resumes that are multiple pages. Although hiring managers are no longer expecting resumes to be only 1 page, they also aren't anticipating receiving a resume that is 6 pages long. We have even critiqued resumes over 10 pages in length!
Common Client Question: "How long should my resume be?"
We advise clients that 1-3 pages is the current average length of resumes. Whether it makes sense to keep it to 1 page or expand to 3 depends on work experience and the level of the role being sought. (Here is a detailed blog on this topic titled, "How Many Pages Should My Resume Be?")
We frequently tell jobseekers that they need to shorten their resume from 5+ pages to something more digestible for a hiring manager to review. In response, they often ask us how to condense the content.
Common Client Question: "How can I Shorten/Downsize my Resume?"
10 Ways to Reduce Your Resume to 1-3 Pages in Length
#1: Check for Relevancy Throughout Your Resume
Look closely at the job you are applying for. Is everything on your resume relevant to that specific opening? Keep in mind that your resume does not have to be a full history. You can just focus on the aspects of your education and work history that are important to the role you are seeking.
Does your resume have a volunteer section? If so, verify it is really important for the opening.
Are you including information that is over 15 years old? Again, this can be left off if it doesn't show you have the skills needed for this specific job.
#2: Evaluate your Resume Contact Information Section
Many people use multiple lines for their contact information. In the example below, each aspect of the contact information is given it's own separate line:
Now look at this alternative. The information is still clear for the hiring manager, but much less resume space is dedicated to it.
In the above example, the street address has been eliminated, which is currently advised for privacy reasons. The rest of the information has been condensed from 5 lines to 3 lines.
You can use this same approach on other sections of your resume too. Do you have your previous job titles listed with the company name and dates all on separate lines? Consider combining into one or 2 lines. What about your education? You may want to reduce the number of lines you are using to list your degree, school, date and GPA by combining a few items onto the same line.
#3: Consider Combining Certain Resume Sections
Combining resume sections can be another way to significantly save space. Revision Resume often combines the Education and Training/Certificates sections or the Education and Accomplishments sections. Here is an example of a resume in which the Education and Certificates are listed in two separate sections:
Now look at the reduction of space required when these two sections are combined:
#4: Use Bullet Points
Instead of writing large paragraphs, use bullet points. This not only makes the resume easier to read, but it also is likely to reduce the amount of content you include. Keep in mind that the hiring manager is probably going to skim the resume before looking at it more closely. Bullets make it easy to skim.
#5: Shorten Your Executive Summary
Is your executive summary longer than 3-5 sentences? If so, you should probably consider reducing it. Reread it and decide which 3-5 sentences are the most important to include. Remember, you will have a chance to expand on your resume when you are called in for an interview. So, only keep the most important aspects of your skills and qualifications in your executive summary. It is critical to make your resume something that the hiring manager finds easy to review relatively quickly. Shortening your executive summary will help accomplish that goal while also reducing the overall length of your resume.
#6: Are Your Resume Bullet Points Redundant?
In many cases, people have multiple previous jobs with similar roles and responsibilities. When they are creating their resume, they look at each job individually and write bullet points for each. Once complete, they forget to look at the document as a whole. Yet, if they did, they would notice that they are repeating the same information over and over again. Let's examine a specific example. In the resume shown below, the job candidate has virtually the same information listed in her bullet points for her teacher role and her substitute teacher role. Not only is this a waste of valuable space on her resume, but it might be boring for the hiring manager reading the document.
Now, evaluate the updated resume, where new information was included under the substitute teacher role. Eliminating the redundancy reduced the length of the resume. The new bullet points also add new details in showcasing skills and qualifications that were not highlighted in the previous bullets.
Take the time to review your entire resume. If you have listed that you are a great communicator 16 times, it might be worthwhile to evaluate if you can eliminate a few of the bullets that highlight your communication abilities to reduce the length of the overall document.
#7: Does Your Resume Include the Obvious?
Any skill that someone with your education or experience would likely have doesn't need to be explicitly listed on your resume, unless it is specifically mentioned on the job description as a required or preferred qualification. For example, if you have been working for 10 years in a role that requires daily use of Microsoft Office -- and this would be obvious to anyone reading your resume -- you do not need to list Microsoft Office in your skills section. If your resume includes skills that would be assumed by someone reading the resume, you should consider removing those skills to save some space.
#8: Delete Resume Bullets that Just List the Job Description
Reread each of your work experience bullets. Do they show what you did, how you did it and what your successes were? Or do they list the job description? Eliminate bullets that say "responsible for" or "tasked with," as those are just stating what you were supposed to do, not what you actually achieved. Keep bullets that demonstrate your actions and results. You want to show your accomplishments, not just list your responsibilities.
#9: Get Creative With Resume Formatting
Consider the way your resume is formatted. Can you reduce the size of your margins? If they are set to 1 inch, consider changing them to 0.8. What is the size of your font? We advise clients to consider using 10-12 point font size. You might even find changing the font style is helpful. If you are using Arial, consider switching to Calibri. It is even possible you will find some extra room if you modify the spacing between the lines. These small changes may add up and end up reducing your resume length considerably.
#10: Delete Outdated Information From Your Resume
You may be proud of the first job you ever held, but including it on your resume could be taking up space better devoted to other information. A resume should only go back 10-15 years. Taking off the job you had just out of high school will shorten your resume without removing vital information. Take a look at your resume and see if you could remove information that is older than 15 years to save significant space.
While you don't need to reduce your resume to 1 page in most instances, you shouldn't be submitting a 5 page resume either. Although it can be challenging to figure out how to reduce the content of your resume, the above 10 tips should help you downsize the length considerably. Need help? Revision Resume is happy to assist you by providing a resume critique or creation. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more!