How To Trim The Fat From Your Resume

Your resume is your primary marketing tool. Think of it as a print advertisement for a very important product: you!

Would you read a three-page ad? Probably not. And neither will most hiring managers. In fact, the average time that a screener spends on initial resume review is just six seconds. So when it comes to your resume, more is definitely not better.

Today, an increasing number of companies are using applicant tracking systems. While an ATS doesn’t care how long a resume is, it does look for relevant keywords. Use these tips to meet the requirements of both types of reviewers and, most importantly, set yourself apart from the pack of candidates vying for a position:

Keep It Concise and Relevant

Tailor your resume to the job description and be sure every word is relevant. This not only helps to keep it concise, but also makes it stronger.

  • Consider your work history. Generally, you only need to include the last 10-to-15 years. If your earlier career is important to your current goal, briefly mention it without including details.
  • Omit unnecessary words. Delete phrases like “responsible for” and “duties included.” Also, eliminate personal pronouns and minimize the use of articles, such as “a, an” and “the.”
  • Avoid repeating information. If you performed the same or similar job tasks for multiple employers, instead of repeating them, focus on your accomplishments in each position.
  • Omit “References available upon request.” This is old school. Today, it is standard procedure for employers to ask for references before extending an offer. Have your list of references ready – as a separate document.

Format Effectively

With a little formatting savvy, you can easily tighten up your resume and make it more reader friendly.

  • Mind your margins. They may be pre-set at one inch, but you can adjust them to .75 or even a half inch. This leaves you more space for keywords and important content.
  • Combine more than one item on the same line. For instance, put your email address on the same line as your phone number or your job title on the same line as your employment dates.
  • Check paragraph settingsSpacing between lines, also known as leading, can be modified to save space. You don’t want resume content to appear jumbled, but often, you can tighten it up. Use Page Layout to change the spacing before or after paragraphs to 0 point.
  • Avoid long bullet points. They’re called bullet points for a reason. They’re supposed to be brief highlights. If they’re too long and wordy, they lose their impact.

Do you need additional tips and assistance as you fine tune your resume and job search strategy? You can count on CPS Recruitment®. Access our extensive career resource database for tips as you pursue your next great job. When you have that great resume together, contact us at 315-457-2500 or to learn more about what we can do for you!