Are you asking yourself any of these questions:
- How long should my resume be?
- How can I fit all my experience on one page?
- What can I eliminate, and what should be highlighted?
If you are, you're not alone. As millions of workers
update their resumes, one of the top concerns is length.
Not long ago, job seekers followed the resume golden
rule: No resume should exceed one page. However, today's
job seekers are finding that rule no longer applies.
In this time of mass confusion, the solution is simple:
Use common sense. If you are just graduating, have fewer
than five years of work experience or are contemplating
a complete career change, a one-page resume will probably
suffice. Some technical and executive candidates require
multiple-page resumes. If you have more than five years
of experience and a track record of accomplishments,
you will need at least two pages to tell your story.
Your Resume Is Not an Autobiography
Don't confuse telling your story with creating your
autobiography. Employers are inundated with resume submissions
and are faced with weeding out the good from the bad.
The first step involves quickly skimming through resumes
and eliminating candidates who clearly are not qualified.
Therefore, your resume needs to pass the skim test.
Dust off your resume and ask yourself:
- Can a hiring manager see my main credentials within
10 to 15 seconds?
- Does critical information jump off the page?
- Do I effectively sell myself on the top quarter
of the first page?
The Sales Pitch
Because resumes are quickly skimmed during the first
pass, it is crucial your resume gets right to work selling
your credentials. Your key selling points need to be
prominently displayed at the top of the first page.
If an MBA degree is important in your career field,
your education shouldn't be buried at the end of a four-page
An effective way to showcase your key qualifications
is to include a Career Summary statement at the top
of the first page. On your Monster.com resume, use the
Objective section to relay your top qualifications.
The remainder of the resume should back up the statements
made in your summary.
Use an Editor's Eye
Many workers are proud of their careers and feel the
information on a resume should reflect all they've accomplished.
However, the resume shouldn't contain every detail.
It should only include the information that will help
you land an interview.
So be brutal. If your college days are far behind you,
does it really matter that you pledged a fraternity
or delivered pizza? The editing step will be difficult
if you are holding on to your past for emotional reasons.
If this is the case, show your resume to a colleague
or professional resume writer for an objective opinion.
Did you perform the same or similar job tasks for more
than one employer? Instead of repeating job duties,
focus on your accomplishments in each position.
Employers are most interested in what you did recently.
If you have a long career history, focus on the last
10 to 15 years. If your early career is important to
your current goal, briefly mention the experience without
going into the details. For example: Early Career: ABC
Company - City, State - Served as Assistant Store Manager
and Clerk, 1980-1985.
Avoid listing hobbies and personal information such
as date of birth or marital status. Also, eliminate
outdated technical or business skills.
Many job seekers can trim the fat off their resumes
simply by removing long descriptions of job duties or
responsibilities. Instead, create a paragraph that briefly
highlights the scope of your responsibility and then
provide a bulleted list of your most impressive accomplishments.
Many job seekers waste the valuable last line of the
resume on an obvious statement. Unless you're using
this as a design element, remove it.
Eliminate personal pronouns and minimize the use of
articles when preparing your resume.
Review your resume for unnecessary phrases such as
"responsible for" or "duties include."
The reader understands you were responsible for the
tasks listed on your resume.
Only include information relevant to your goal. This
is particularly important for career changers who need
to focus on transferable skills and deemphasize unrelated