Text heavy documents are sinking the job search of many frustrated job seekers, who are left wondering why they are not getting called for interviews. The answer is simple: employers are not interested in reading long narratives; instead they want a short and well tailored overview that speaks to their needs and showcases the skills they covet.

When writing a resume,  think quality over quantity.  A resume is not a biography and it should not contain copious amounts of detail about absolutely everything you’ve ever done during your career. Not even close! Instead, make sure your resume offers a solid sampling of relevant facts related to the targeted role. Think marketing tool, not career obituary.

Below is a short ‘test’ to decide if your resume is weighing you down. If you answer yes to any of the points below, grab a life vest and start bailing!

1. The resume is longer than two pages. Only in rare circumstances are longer resumes required. Today’s resumes must be leaner and more succinct to be taken seriously. One page resumes work well for many job seekers, even executives!  Save the details for the interview.

2. The employment history section reads like a job description. Lengthy overviews of each role (focused primarily on tasks/duties) are a waste of prime resume real estate.  Employers are not interested in what you did, but how well you did it. Minimize focus on responsibilities and focus on your personal performance instead.

3. There are no bulleted points. If you are only presenting details in paragraph form, watch out! It is very easy for key points to get buried in large chunks of text. Always bullet key points for easier readability and to separate out accomplishments and achievements.

4. Bulleted points are longer than two lines each. To keep points succinct, aim to keep each bulleted point to two lines. If you can’t say it in two lines or less, you are rambling.

5. There are more than five bulleted points per employment role. If so, reduce. Just like heavy text, a long list of bulleted points diminishes the impact of the information and buries key points.

6. Excessive filler words like: “a, to, the, of…”. Although these words are warranted at times, in a resume they should be eliminated whenever possible. For example, instead of saying:

Created the marketing campaign in close collaboration with five people on the team and managed the project planning process from start to finish”

You can say:

 “Created marketing campaign together with five team members; managed project planning process from start to finish”.

7. Career history dates back more than 10 years. Do not make the mistake of listing every job you have ever had if your career history extends over 10 years! Listing 10 years of experience in a resume is typically plenty enough.

The truth is, employers don’t care about all the details. They want to know results, and most importantly they want to know if you can make results happen for THEM. Make it easy for employers to locate key results in your resume by keeping it lean and clean… and enjoy smoother sailing during your job search!

Does your resume need rescuing?  I can help: www.careerimpressions.ca

Is Your Resume Sinking Your Job Search?

2 thoughts on “Is Your Resume Sinking Your Job Search?

  • Author Image
    October 12, 2011 at 3:22 pm

    Great post! I always tell people “A list of responsibilities tells me what your job was, achievement tells me if you were any good at it. Focus on achievement.”

  • Author Image
    June 15, 2012 at 8:26 pm

    This is such useful advice for job seekers.

    It can be so easy to get lost in the details, and it helps to have a resume writer that can see the big picture.



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