Resume Tip Tuesday: How to Shorten Your Resume

Posted February 18, 2014

Welcome to Resume Tip Tuesday! Come to CareerBliss every Tuesday for a brand new resume tip to help you in your job search! Check out the archive for resume tips galore! 


Unless you’re a seasoned professional, keeping your resume to concise is crucial. One page is a good rule of thumb because it keeps things swift and easy-to-scan for your future employer.

“Focus on communicating how what you possess meets my needs instead of focusing on how pretty your resume is or whether you have two bullet points or a dozen,” says Alan Guinn, managing director at The Guinn Consultancy Group Inc.

1.Remove Generic Self-Descriptors

First of all, delete these 10 filler words. They’re unnecessary and fill up space. Regular readers of Resume Tip Tuesday have already done this and are one step ahead.

Then, look for any generic words that you use to describe yourself. A super popular one: Detail-oriented.

“If you to communicate want you're detail-oriented, then make sure your resume is error-free! Don't write detail-oriented in your objective or summary statement,” says Joseph Terach of Resume Deli. “Everyone  says that about themselves.”

Listing it does nothing for your case…proving it does.

2. Delete Irrelevant Experience

Each resume should be tailored to your desired position. Ask yourself: “Does your reader need to know about the four-month job you held in 2003?” Terach says.

Clear out any irrelevant experience you have in your resume. “Or at least minimize them,” he adds.

3. Remove Simple, Common Skills

“If it’s obvious that you use MS Office software in your job (e.g. your experience section already mentions use of spreadsheets; scheduling meetings; designing slides), there’s no reason to list the basic Word, Excel, etc. in your skills section,” Terach says.

Only include vital skills that you know managers might be searching for.

4. Smart Formatting

Choose smaller fonts that read well. According to Terach, that Calibri and Arial read well in just a 9.5 font size, taking up less space.

“You can also get away with smaller top-bottom margins than left-right margins (your page keeps better perspectives,” he says.

Beware: “If you shrink your margins too small and MS Word will force your reader to resize them before printing. Not cool. You don't want to give your reader a work assignment just to be able to print and share your document.”

Test it before sending it off.

5. Consider Two Key Bullet Points

You can make a big punch per position with just two key bullet points. Artie Lynnworth, author of life-lessons from his 40-year career in corporate leadership, calls them “couplets.”

“A couplet is simply a combination of a key skill with a key result,” he says.

“For example, creative marketing strategy [the skill] enabled a 15% growth of product sales in the first year, and a 10% per year growth during the next three years [the result].”

Longer work periods call for a few more couplets, he says. But this is a great guideline to follow to keep things concise and powerful.

photo of The CareerBliss Team

The CareerBliss Team

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