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Keeping your resume concise

From: Creating an Effective Resume

Video: Keeping your resume concise

Your resume is your advertising copy, not an autobiography. It's not meant to tell your entire life story; it's meant to tell the employer what you have done in your life that will help them. It's your sales pitch. When creating your resume, think like an advertising copywriter. Would they put a lot of irrelevant information that has nothing to do with selling their product in their advertisement? Of course not. First of all, they would lose your interest in the product and you would walk away not knowing why you should buy their product, or even what their product is.

Keeping your resume concise

Your resume is your advertising copy, not an autobiography. It's not meant to tell your entire life story; it's meant to tell the employer what you have done in your life that will help them. It's your sales pitch. When creating your resume, think like an advertising copywriter. Would they put a lot of irrelevant information that has nothing to do with selling their product in their advertisement? Of course not. First of all, they would lose your interest in the product and you would walk away not knowing why you should buy their product, or even what their product is.

Second, advertising space is expensive. The client wouldn't want to waste one single penny of their precious advertising dollars on unrelated fluff. The advertiser wouldn't sell a thing, and they would most assuredly lose their client. It's same with your resume; it must be written in a clear, concise manner all the while highlighting your assets for a particular job. Your resume is not a place to show off your creative writing skills. If you find your resume is running onto three pages and more, it's a good sign you need to rethink the information you're including and go to the cutting table.

It's a red flag that you need to be more concise. The exception to this rule would be if you are in a senior-level or Executive position, or you're writing a CV. For more information on the differences between a CV and a resume, there is a whole movie on CVs that you may refer to. When going to the cutting table, consider combining unrelated positions, highlight transferable skills or positive personal attributes that you can use in your targeted position. Take a look at this example.

Let's say you worked a bunch of part- time jobs through college. You may have included information such as, 1990 you worked several part time jobs 91, 92, 93, and each one of them you separated out. First of all, this takes up a lot of precious room, especially if you're running onto multiple pages. Second, it looks as if you weren't holding down a full-time job for four years when the truth is that you were taking a full credit load while paying your way through college by working part-time jobs.

And don't expect the hiring manager to put your college dates together with your part-time work. They don't have time. Don't assume. Instead, spell it out for them like this: 1990 to 1993 worked several part-time jobs to support myself through college by taking a full course loan. This says a lot about you. It says you were self-sufficient and hard-working, a real go-getter, and it took one line instead of four. Let's take a look at some other ways to make your resume more concise.

Target your resume to the position you're applying for by taking out any nonessential information and anything not relevant to the position you are seeking. But don't cut out entire job that you've held for a long time because they're not relevant. This will leave a gaping hole in your employment history. Instead, look for a way to highlight your transferable skills. If you are a receptionist, for example, and now you're in sales, find a way to highlight the experience you acquired meeting people and the communication skills you've gained that you can now use this as a salesperson.

Avoid the laundry list of job responsibilities and long description of job duties. Remove the words 'responsible for' and 'duties included'. They take up a lot of precious room and are presumed by the employer anyway. Instead, highlight your accomplishments and achievements. Delete hobbies and personal information. Remove 'References available upon request', and never include references on your resume. If you have the word 'resume' at the top of your resume, remove it. We know it's your resume.

The exception to this is if you're creating an online resume and you're using it as a keyword for searches. Take off technical skills that are no longer used in the industry. They will not only make you look like a dinosaur, but will lead the employer to assume you aren't up to date with technology. Let's look at a few things to avoid while trying to trim the fat. Don't shrink your font to the point that someone has to strain to read it; instead trim words or go on to a second page if need be. The only thing a recruiter likes less than a resume that is hard to read is the applicant who submitted the resume that's hard to read.

Don't whittle away your white space and your margins. Next, review your resume while asking yourself these questions: Have I deleted all non-essential and irrelevant information that does not pertain to the targeted position? Did I include all the gory details? Recruiters don't need to know every single detail of every little task you've ever done and every job you've ever had. Is it focused, targeted, and to the point? Will my resume make the employer reach for the phone? When writing your resume, make every word count towards winning an interview.

Make it easy for the employer to read and easy for them to find pertinent information. Don't make them work for it. Convince the employer with your words that you are the most qualified candidate for the position. The purpose of your resume is to attain an interview where you can further elaborate upon your experience, but first you must get the interview, and your resume is your key. Remember, sometimes less is more!

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This video is part of

Image for Creating an Effective Resume
Creating an Effective Resume

49 video lessons · 31439 viewers

Mariann Siegert
Author

 
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  1. 3m 51s
    1. Welcome
      1m 23s
    2. Using the exercise files
      54s
    3. Filling out the career management worksheet
      1m 34s
  2. 29m 13s
    1. Creating a marketing campaign
      2m 50s
    2. Discovering your dream job
      3m 39s
    3. Understanding the importance of keywords
      2m 14s
    4. Finding essential keywords
      6m 34s
    5. Incorporating action verbs
      4m 51s
    6. Getting results using PAR statements
      4m 40s
    7. Researching the employer
      4m 25s
  3. 37m 2s
    1. Targeting your resume
      7m 16s
    2. Sidestepping blunders and the "10-Second Screen-Out"
      5m 44s
    3. Deciding on resume length
      6m 29s
    4. Keeping your resume concise
      5m 23s
    5. Refreshing your resume
      4m 52s
    6. Critiquing your resume
      3m 31s
    7. Avoiding identity theft
      3m 47s
  4. 21m 14s
    1. Entering the workforce
      7m 48s
    2. Filling in employment gaps
      5m 21s
    3. Dealing with long-term employment
      3m 9s
    4. Switching career paths
      4m 56s
  5. 12m 38s
    1. Understanding resume jargon
      1m 27s
    2. Reverse chronological
      2m 25s
    3. Functional
      6m 11s
    4. Combined chrono-functional
      2m 35s
  6. 7m 1s
    1. Understanding the curriculum vitae (CV)
      3m 29s
    2. Working with online resumes and portfolios
      3m 32s
  7. 41m 23s
    1. Formatting fundamentals for your resume
      6m 39s
    2. Including (or not including) an objective
      4m 10s
    3. Creating a headline
      5m 1s
    4. Writing a qualifications summary
      4m 47s
    5. Showcasing achievements vs. listing job duties
      5m 31s
    6. Including technical information
      5m 22s
    7. Putting your education to work
      4m 41s
    8. Including awards, honors, and other information
      5m 12s
  8. 19m 1s
    1. Knowing which file format is best
      2m 10s
    2. Saving to earlier versions of Word
      2m 48s
    3. Saving as a PDF
      5m 27s
    4. Creating a RTF version
      3m 54s
    5. Saving to HTML format
      4m 42s
  9. 15m 9s
    1. Evaluating online resume banks
      5m 32s
    2. Writing effective names for resume banks
      3m 43s
    3. Double-checking formatting after uploading
      2m 45s
    4. Becoming too visible
      3m 9s
  10. 21m 45s
    1. Creating a cover letter
      7m 47s
    2. Compiling your references
      4m 35s
    3. Writing thank-you notes
      5m 38s
    4. Printing, copying, and the importance of paper
      3m 45s
  11. 52s
    1. Goodbye
      52s

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