Recently I rewrote a resume for a professional who knew she had a problem: Her resume was 6 pages long. Now a long resume is fine if the content justifies it, but this resume was a classic case of a resume gone wild. It had the following problems:
- Wide margins and lots of white space. White space (the area of the resume without any typing in it) is important to make a resume readable; no one wants to read one great block of solid type from margin to margin. But 1-inch margins and too much white space made this resume look like the applicant was hiding a lack of accomplishments and experience by putting as little as possible on each page. I needed to give her resume a more professional, tighter format.
- Too much history. Jobs held at the earliest point in a career are not usually relevant to current career choices. In this case, I needed to summarize the client’s earliest jobs under “Previous Positions.” The only critical facts to list for these early jobs were the company name and her title at each company.
- Too much detail in the job descriptions. Some skills and even some achievements will be unimportant to hiring managers and recruiters and some will be identical from job to job. In this case, despite the fact that she was applying for an executive position, the client had detailed her long ago successes, such as reformatting a company’s proposals, that were probably not important any longer. I had to change the emphasis of her resume to match the job she wanted now.
- Not enough focus. In truth, this is the cause of the previous two problems—too much history and too much detail. When a job applicant is focused on a particular job or career path, then everything in the resume works to help land an interview for that job and that career.
By the time I had finished with my client’s resume, it had shrunk from 8 pages to 3 but those pages looked professional and contained the information that made recruiters and hiring managers leap at the chance to interview her. Again, length is not a problem if content justifies it. If you are not sure whether your content is strong enough, please contact me today.