Over the years, I've written a lot of resumes, for myself and others. There is one standard I have always adhered to for my resume and those of clients who will let me-- the resume must keep to one page. To be clear, that's one side of one page.
If you want recruiters, hiring managers, would-be bosses and clients to actually read your resume and retain any of the pertinent details about what makes you special and a must hire, follow the adage that less is more.
Here, five more tips on writing a great resume:
1. Ignore the temptation to try to say everything.
There's pushback to the one-page resume. I hear that when applying to jobs online that resumes must be longer and packed full of keywords (ahem, corporate jargon), otherwise these systems' scanners will weed out those that are more to the point. To that I say, it's never been an issue for me. I've gotten through those systems -- not every time, but enough.
Others argue for a longer, more encyclopedic approach because they've been around a while and built long careers doing lots of noteworthy things. Same. But to be honest, who wants to read more than one page about you and your accomplishments? And be honest with yourself-- what's your attention span for reading about another person's career?
Ignore these arguments. You don't want to say everything. You want to hit the highlights succinctly. It's your job to edit down your experience and credentials into the digestible bits that someone -- your prospective boss -- can remember. If you have a long-winded resume, all you are showing is that you don't know how to distill what is important. It's a lot harder to write less than it is to ramble on.
2. Keep it short.
Now that you are onboard (I hope) with a one-page resume, you are probably wondering how to make it happen. To start, bulleted lists of each career accomplishment, job responsibility or award will help you keep it brief.
Then you should cut out unnecessary words. Get to the point with short simple sentences or statements. Leave out adverbs, because they don't add much. For example, what does really driven look like versus driven?
3. Think of the inverted pyramid.
News reporters often rely on what's called the "inverted pyramid" to tell their stories. The most important information is at the very top, and the least important is at the bottom. This has always been so editors now where to start chopping down stories-- from the bottom. For each entry on your resume, employ this approach, because that way you always know where to trim.
4. Know it's okay if some jobs are reduced to just one line.
Eventually some jobs won't merit more than one line, and that's okay. Sometimes you just need to note where you were and what your title was at the time.
5. Take it to LinkedIn.
The nice thing about LinkedIn is that readers can drop in where they like. Scanning is easy. So rest assured you can always save some of the extra details for your LinkedIn profile, but don't go crazy there either. You still don't want to overwhelm readers, but knowing that you can expand on things a bit takes some pressure off having to do it all in your resume.