One mistake that job seekers often make on their resumes is trying to cram in as much information as they can. They list every task they were responsible for or project they were even remotely involved in. While this can make you seem like a go-getter, it can also weigh down your resume. Attention spans are short – hiring managers aren’t going to spend time reading a five-page resume, even if you have some excellent experience or accomplishments. Think quality over quantity; does everything you included really need to be on there? Or is it just taking up space?
You can improve the quality of your resume without overhauling the entire thing in many cases. It’s a matter of adjusting what you already have to make it more impactful.
Consolidate. Do you have two or three bullet points that are discussing similar accomplishments? See if you can combine them together to create a more powerful statement that demonstrates results. Incorporate metrics and details that really bring it to life. Or, pick the one that is most relevant to the position you are applying for and remove the others. Remember: your resume isn’t your career autobiography – it’s okay to only highlight key points.
Prioritize. You already know that a hiring manager is only going to spend a few seconds on an initial scan of your resume. Bump the most impressive bullet points to the top and go in descending order. That way, they still get a strong impression of you even if they don’t make it the whole way down the list. This can also make it easier to find points to cut when they keep getting bumped further down in importance.
Cut the fluff. You may be proud that you chaired the social committee of an organization in college, but if it’s been 10 years since you graduated, is that really going to matter to an employer? And does it have any relevance to what you’re doing now compared to the experience you have gained since then? Carefully comb through your resume and decide what truly deserves to be there, and what is just taking up valuable space but not adding much else.
Zero in on purpose. It’s time to get rid of your objective statement (of course your objective is to get the job for which you are applying and to do a good job at it), and replace it with a targeted summary of qualifications. Show potential employers exactly what you bring to the table in a few concise sentences. This makes it clear from the start why they should keep reading to learn more about you. It also sets the tone for the rest of your resume and what a hiring manager can expect.
Add links. Do you have a LinkedIn account? An online portfolio that shows examples of your work? A professional Twitter account dedicated to your industry? Include links in the contact section of your resume. Make it easy for a potential employer to find more information – you know they’re going to search you out online anyway, so make sure they’re hitting the right pages.