One of my friends recently posted an available position within her company on a major job search Web site, and she instantly received tens of applications in her inbox. She works for a small business -– she is not exclusively a hiring manager -– so filling this vacancy was just an added responsibility on top of everything she had to do already. In other words, she had very little time to waste.
Her decision to read or discard a resume was made within seconds -- and based simply on the length of the resume. “I simply don’t have enough time to read each person’s resume all the way through,” she says. “In order to give everyone a chance, I need to skim, and I need to skim through only the important information -– I don’t have time to look for it. One resume I came across was 9 pages long, another was 7. One resume listed a retail position in 1976 as the top position under ‘work experience’ and another opened with a page-long biography. Who has time to read that?”
The answer is probably no one. You need to be mindful about the length of your resume -– a reader can discard your resume without even looking at your name the second he or she sees that it is too long. Make it easy for them -– they don’t want to hunt for the most relevant facts.
So how do you cut down the length? Keep some of the following in mind:
Some people tend to get a little carried away here and it adds to the length of their résumé. This is not supposed to be a paragraph or, even worse, a page. A sentence or two is plenty.
This tends to be a problem for people with a lot of work experience. Make sure you provide the most information on the positions relevant to the job you are applying for. Keep dates in mind as well -– unless absolutely necessary, you do not need to list positions you held 15 years ago.
Do not provide these unless asked. Sometimes this can take up a lot of résumé space.
While the ideal length of a resume is entirely debatable, you generally do not want to exceed 2 pages. Stick to the most important facts and try to incorporate some of my tips into cutting down the length -– it will increase your chances of getting read!
RedStarResume provides résumé and cover letter writing services for students, graduates, and young professionals. For more information, visit www.redstarresume.com, or follow them on Twitter at http://twitter.com/RedStarResume.
© 2012 RedStarResume Publications
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