In a culture dominated by short Facebook posts and cryptic tweets, we all face enormous pressure to communicate ever more briefly. When it comes to resumes, recent trends have lowered preferred lengths to 2-3 pages. If your resume is long, how can you possibly condense it without losing value? Related: Is Your Executive Resume Too Wordy? As a certified and award-winning resume writer, I face this dilemma on a daily basis. Most resumes contain a lot of “fat" in the form of run-on sentences, unwieldy skill descriptions, lackluster branding, and unnecessary details. By trimming these problem areas, your resume can become a lean, mean brand communication machine.
10 Ways To Condense Your Resume Without Losing ValueBut isn't it better to include more content so you can weave in more keywords throughout your resume? No, actually. When it comes to resume writing less is generally more. Here's why:
- Recruiters, HR professionals, and hiring executives are, like most of us, overworked and inundated with information overload. Crisp lean sentences filled with the right details will stand out more in a sea of candidates.
- Too many keywords in a document can actually be a negative thing, because it may make it appear you are stuffing your document for the sole purpose of ranking high in resume searches. The database systems, or Applicant Tracking Systems, that recruiters, companies, and job boards use to store and analyze incoming resumes are sophisticated enough to identify which documents have the right range of keywords specified in applicant searches – enough to meet their needs but not too much to raise eyebrows. In other words, keyword density is important, but too many such words upset the apple cart.
- Important details stand out more when there is less text, especially if those details have been whittled and shaped wisely. Clogging up your resume with unnecessary information and vague details impairs its ability to communicate your brand in the four to five seconds it is screened by humans.