Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Tip of the day: One page resume

Tip: Limit your resume to just one page

In job hunting as in life, limits are important.

The most important limit in a job hunt is the space and time you have to make an impression. Maximize it by limiting your resume to just one page.

It hurts, I know. It hurts to leave off that bullet point about the debate team, or the cataloging system you designed. It crushes your soul to think that your botany research project won't be there when your prospective boss skims your beautifully formatted, cramped, ornately designed resume.

But bite the bullet.  The two-page resume is honestly the number-one complaint I hear from hiring managers. Cut down to one page and you'll open up:

1) Their time. Hiring managers and HR recruiters really don't have much time. They need to digest information quickly, and that means they don't want to flip back and forth, turn over pages, or lose track of who they're even looking at. Make it easy for them to quickly learn all about you by keeping your resume down to just one page.

2) Your space. Less obvious but still vital is the benefit you, the resume-writer and job-seeker, get from this limit. Limits force solutions. They force creativity. They force prioritization. By adhering to a one-page limit, you'll write a tighter, more focused, stronger resume.

How to cut down resume bloat

  • Tailor your resume. Not all your experience will be relevant to every position. Read the job description, and for each of your bullet points, ask yourself if it addresses any of the required qualifications. If the answer is no, chances are it can go.
  • Diminishing bullets. Use three to four bullet points to highlight your accomplishments in your most recent position. Then use two to three in earlier jobs. Maybe your first job only needs one.
  • Education highlights. List your degrees and any honors, along with relevant areas of focus, and nothing else.
It's a tough limit to work with, but it's worth the effort. Make your resume stronger and make your future manager happy by sticking to just one page!