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Keys to Getting the Interview: Keep Your Resume Concise

Written by Mohammad Abdullah Kawish and Irene Robertson

Have you been working for 10, 15, or maybe even 20+ years? As an industry expert, you may have a couple of decades of experience under your belt. But when applying for a new position, sending a potential employer a five-plus page resume is the absolute wrong thing to do. Remember, your resume has 7.4 seconds to make an impression on a recruiter (based on a 2018 Ladders, Inc. study). That means conveying the most relevant information as quickly as possible is the key to getting to the next step.

Simplifying your resume to ensure that it is crisp, clear, and capable of capturing the attention of a recruiter demonstrates that you understand your duty as a job seeker. So, if you’ve been working forever, how do you make a recruiter’s life easier and stand out in the crowd at the same time? We’ve referred to our in-house experts to curate these six helpful tips to help you simplify your professional resume into a standard 1-2 pages.

Keep your objective statement brief and to the point.

Most objective statements are unnecessarily lengthy. Consider utilizing only two or three sentences that describe your experience and how your expertise and talents transfer to what you want to achieve next. This initial phrase is your chance to introduce yourself to the reader. If you include too much information here, the reader may lose sight of your worth and, as a result, may be unsure where to place you. Tell them what you want them to know about you the most.

Try being objective and avoid terms like "assertively" or "critically" in your executive sentences. These words take space and, contrary to popular opinion, detract from your experience and abilities. You are trying too hard to put words in the reader's mouth. The more objective you appear, the more you and your resume stand out from the other candidates.

Concentrate on accomplishments rather than job descriptions.

Job descriptions may result in being lengthy and are frequently included in the experience section. Instead, concentrate on what you did in your job and accomplishments that are specific to you. This personalizes your resume, highlights your versatility, and makes it memorable.

Don't put every job you've ever had on your resume.

If you've been an administrative manager for 10 years, knowing that you were a day care worker 20 years ago does nothing to benefit you. Keep your resume focused on the roles that serve your future career track and only share positions you've held for 15 years or less.

Use bullet points.

Information in paragraph form may become difficult to grasp, especially when readers scan your resume in mere seconds. Here, bullet points make it easier to comprehend information. Picture a department store - seeing too many items at once may become daunting. You won’t know where to begin and might skip it entirely. Do not risk scaring the recruiter by failing to make your resume easy to read.

Show the numbers.

Numbers enable the reader to easily recognize your successes. They effectively illustrate your accomplishments without using a lot of words. Instead of saying, "consistently exceeded yearly sales objectives through strong client management and exceptional opportunity evaluation," you could consolidate it by writing, "completed 2016 at 113% of the annual target." If you saved your company money, show the dollar amounts.

We all know how to use Microsoft Office.

There is no need to mention your knowledge of technical or computer programs such as Microsoft Office. It is already assumed that you are familiar with such common programs. Instead, share technical talents and expertise that are less prevalent and more relevant to your work.

Ultimately, your resume serves as a sales tool. As an experienced professional, you must ensure that it is positioned at the appropriate level and highlights your offerings. Less is more, so resist the impulse to jam as much information as possible into the document. If you are concerned about leaving out details, save this information for your interview to add value to the conversation and keep it interesting.

Do you have any other tips for simplifying your resume? If so, let us know!

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