Career Advice - A Community Blog

Erik Larson writes about the job market, resume improvement, and career advice

How to Condense Your Resume

Written by Erik Larson, Community Blogger | Sep 8, 2014 5:12 PM
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With most jobs getting hundreds of applicants these days, it can be really irritating for recruiters to have to sort through one lengthy resume after another. That is why applicants must keep their resumes short and to the point. However, there arises the question as to how you should compress, condense and consolidate your resume yet retain its value.  Here are some tips on how to go about doing just that. 

A Common Misconception 

One of the greatest misconceptions is that you can impress interviewers with an array of hyped up statements, heavy jargons and lengthy descriptive sentences. Portraying your skill sets in an extensive manner often backfires as recruiters spend as little as 6 seconds assessing your resume initially. The fact of the matter is recruiters prefer resumes which are short, simple, and to the point. Do not risk having the recruiter instantly throw away your resume upon seeing a wall of text, concise bullet points are the way to go. 

Usage of Keywords 

There is no doubt that the usage of keywords can really help keep you in the hunt when recruiters use filters to narrow the candidate pool. But one must also remember that stuffing in filler words can be confusing to some recruiters/managers. Clogging your resume with senseless and cliché words is irritating and unnecessarily adds length to your resume.  Make sure you use words that can be easily understood and don’t overdo it by inserting them in every sentence.  Look at sample resumes at sites like ResumeSamples.net, Monster.com, and About.com to see what the most important keywords are for each job and focus on inserting those. 

Ideal Length of Your Resume

Resumes that are 1 to 2 pages long are preferred by most recruiters. While the ideal length may differ from employer to employer, a two page resume is taken by most as ideal for a professional with 10 to 15 years of work experience. Those with a greater length of work experience may need three pages to capture but this is in extreme situations. 

People with limited or no experience should absolutely stick to a one-page resume. As far as the length of your career summary goes, three to six lines are now considered sufficient. You should also avoid adding things that are now considered useless like an objective statement or the high school you went to 15 years ago. 

Work History

Work experience is the most important part of your resume and should represent the bulk of its space. While this is incredibly important there are several things you can do to avoid extending your resume to another page. You should avoid repeating the same thing on different job sections as it is redundant, adds length and looks like you were too lazy to think of something unique. You should highlight specific things that help you stand out, quantifiable results are especially desirable.  You should also have the bulk of your resume be about your most recent jobs and cut down the length of your older jobs to save space.

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  • shania img 2015-08-26 04:33

    Good article Erik,

    The site http://www.jobscan.co is also a great place to identify keywords for your resume. All you do is paste in your resume plus the job description, then Jobscan analyzes your job description for you automatically and identify the most important keywords for you!

    It literally takes seconds and it so worth the copy and paste. Saved me so much time AND I got more interviews using Jobscan! I recommend it as well.

  • lukashik img 2016-02-13 12:22

    When writing your CV you need to remember that how You will present your professional experience, depends largely on Your success in the job search. Summary - the document from which the employer first receives information about the applicant and is their opinion about it. Reviewing a CV takes an average of 2-3 minutes, so the information contained therein, must be filed so as to immediately attract attention to themselves. ShowBox

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