It’s a dilemma many of us have encountered: is it better to include as much as possible on a resume to demonstrate the full extent of your professional experience, or is it better to limit yourself to what is absolutely relevant to the role at hand?
While an argument can surely be made for either alternative, the guiding principle of keeping a resume short, sweet and to the point in order to hone in on what is essential to the job at hand is often the best course of action.
Of course, what is and isn’t essential can be open to interpretation depending on your perspective, so we’ve compiled some tips to help you determine what should and shouldn’t be included on your resume. For even more insight into capturing recruiter attention click here!
Keep it between 2 – 4 pages
Generally speaking, a resume in the range of 2 – 4 pages would be considered acceptable, while anything over 4 pages is likely too long and could very well reduce your chances of advancing to the next stage of the recruitment process. Of course, a 2 – 4 page range presents a lot of room to maneuver — there’s a big distinction between a 2 page resume and one of 4 pages — so, once again, focusing on what is essential to the job you’re applying for is a good rule of thumb.
Content always trumps length
It’s easy to be swayed into thinking that a longer resume suggests a more experienced and therefore appealing candidate. In reality, unless the content is there to support the length, it’s going to fall flat. Short sentences focused on measurable achievement will outweigh long, wordy sentences every time. Treat it as a document where every single word counts, because that’s precisely what it is!
Choose your resume sections wisely
Another key aspect to focusing on the essential is to follow a well defined structure. Opening your resume with a strong introduction, followed by sections devoted to your skills, experience and education will allow you to highlight those details that will make the greatest impact. And, if you need some guidance structuring your resume, we’ve got you covered.
Proper formatting means readability — Pay attention to Font, Spacing and Margins
Considering the minuscule amount of time a reader is likely to spend on an initial scan of your resume — all of 6 seconds! — presentation is one of your most valuable assets. A clean resume that is nicely spaced out, with a well chosen font, and margins that make the best use whitespace, not only makes for an easier read, but will actually entice the reader to keep their eyes on it beyond that initial 6 second scan.
Limit yourself to your recent and relevant experience
Yes, it’s tempting to list out every piece of work experience you’ve accumulated over the years in order to demonstrate just how much you bring to the table, but strategically speaking, only experience that is recent and/or truly relevant to your application should be included. More specifically, experience that occurred over 5 years ago is unlikely to move the needle for a hiring manager and should be cut out altogether, unless that experience is very relevant to the job you’re applying for. And if it is relevant enough to include, a mere 1 or 2 lines of detail will suffice. Keeping yourself disciplined in this regard will allow your recent and relevant accomplishments to make a strong impression.
Prioritize your past results over your past responsibilities
Listing the responsibilities of your previous roles may sound impressive, but in reality, it isn’t likely to differentiate you from your competition. What will help you to stand out are your professional accomplishments. When detailing your previous work experience, focus on deliverables, results and achievements — particularly those you can quantify — rather than on tasks and responsibilities. This is how you can best demonstrate the value you would bring to an organization.
Need help writing the perfect resume? ProViso Consulting is here to support your career success! Our expert team can help you identify the most valuable aspects of your work experience to create a clean and concise resume for any of our current job listings View jobs now!