Throughout your career, you have probably taken on a wide range of projects and responsibilities that have helped you grow as a professional. While that is wonderful, it does not mean that all of these points must be included in your resume. Highlighting everything you’ve ever done could lead to a 5+ page resume which, let’s be honest, probably isn’t going to be read. A good rule of thumb is to keep your resume to no more than three pages, and even that is more than enough space for many job seekers. (Just because you can use three pages doesn’t mean you should—in fact, we usually only say that senior-level executives take their resume to this length.)
So how do you pare down your resume to only include what is most essential and cut the fluff? Here are a few questions to ask yourself when deciding:
- Is it relevant to the job you want?
A lot of people get carried away including extraneous details that don’t necessarily apply to the type of role they’re seeking. Read through each of your bullet points and see if you can make a connection to how that statement will show you are a good fit for the job. What value does it add or skill does it demonstrate that a potential employer would be interested in?
- Can you quantify it?
Numbers can be a powerful addition to your resume because they show concrete results. Whenever possible, include metrics such as dollar amounts, percentages, or other figures that give scope and context to your accomplishments. What was the size of the budget you managed? How much savings or sales did you generate? How much did you increase productivity or slash downtime?
- Does it demonstrate results?
Not everything can be quantified, and that’s okay. For those statements that you can’t add metrics to, make sure they are still showing results and accomplishments. You don’t want a hiring manager to look at what you wrote and ask, “So what?” Statements can still pack a punch if you say they increased access, improved communication, supported data-driven decision making, or streamlined operations.
- Is it assumed?
Remember that your resume shouldn’t just be a list of responsibilities. You’re wasting space if you’re including basic skills that it is assumed someone at your level should have or things you should be doing. For instance, the ability to use Microsoft Office should be a given in today’s workforce. Instead, devote this space to achievements, skills, or experiences that set you apart and that other candidates may not have.
- Can you say it more concisely?
A big space killer on your resume is bullet points that dangle over to a second (or third) line by just one or two words. Look for ways to phrase what you have to say more concisely and shorten your statements to fit onto a single line. This can apply throughout your resume as well – unnecessary words take up valuable space.
Polish up your resume and make it clearer and more concise with help from Grammar Chic. We’ll work with you to determine the most important and relevant information to include and what can be left unsaid. Put your best foot forward by contacting us today at (803) 831-7444 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
I am in need of a new resume and cover letter. I am a young policy professional in Washington, DC. My area of expertise is healthcare, Military and veteran policy.