Getting Your Resume To One Page

With increasing frequency, employers are asking for one page resumes.  In reality, even if they don’t ask, many will only read the first page.  You have great experience you want to share, short of using a ridiculously small font, how do you condense it to one page without losing all the value?

You can easily gain some usable space by trimming your margins.  There is no need to use the default one inch margins all the way around.  Do not reduce your margins to less than one-half inch.  It is important to have white space for readability.

Don’t go crazy adding new sections.  Each section requires a header which uses a line.  It can be ok to combine relevant sections into one such as Volunteer Experience and Community Involvement or Skills and Interests.

Not everything has to be on a separate line.  Think about where information can be reasonably combined on the same line.

Be careful of using the default spacing between lines.  This can cost you several lines per page.  Set the spacing for single spaced and add lines only where needed.

Monitor your bullets.  It should not take three lines of text to summarize your accomplishment.  Bullets should never exceed two lines and try to eliminate as many unnecessary words as possible.  Do not let one word carry over to a new line.  Rework it to fit to a single line.

Your resume is not intended to be detailed summary of your work history.  While you need to list each position you do not have to provide significant detail on older or less relevant positions.  Focus on what is clearly most relevant to the position you are considering.  Focus on the few key things that are most relevant and will make you stand out.

If you think this only applies for recent graduates or employees with minimal experience, think again.  Employers are expecting one page resumes for all but executive level hires.  Time to start editing for success.


Are Resumes Still Needed in 2016?

It’s 2016 and the pace of change increases each year.  Technology has transformed many industries – think Uber, Airbnb, Amazon and others.  In this technological age, do I really still need a resume?  As someone who works with employers on a daily basis, the answer is still yes.  The resume is still the foundation of the current recruiting process.  How do you ensure that your resume stands out?  With online applications, employers can easily receive hundreds of applications for a single position.  When they quickly scan your resume, you want to be sure to make a positive impression so you will advance in the process.   Or, if the company relies on an applicant tracking system, the software is making decisions based on your resume before a human ever reviews it.   Here are some key considerations:


Make it Easy for Employers to Contact You

Enhance your resume contact information with easy to use hyperlinks to your email and your LinkedIn profile.  Before they even meet you, they are impressed that you made it so easy for them to get to the next step.  Of course, it is critical that your LinkedIn profile is update to date and comprehensive.


Be Wary of Overly Creative Designs

If you are in a very creative industry, you will want a separate version of your resume that is more creative and visually appealing but even for creative jobs you need a basic resume that will make it through the scanner in the applicant tracking process.  No one will ever tell you that your resume failed the screen you just never get a response even when the job seemed so perfect.  Something as simple as lines across the page can cause a problem.  Beware of any creative formatting since it will likely cause problems.  Still to a very clean, professional resume format.  Don’t go crazy with fonts either.  Calibri or Cambia look more modern that Times Roman but don’t try something truly unusual or it could be rejected by the system.


Objectives are Dead

Do not start your resume with an objective.  That is seriously out of date because to be frank, employers don’t really care what you want to do.  They want qualified candidates who can do the work and add value for the company.  Instead, focus on a strong summary of your critical transferable skills.  Entice them enough with the summary to make them want to read more.  If you are applying for a variety of jobs, have different versions of your resume so you can provide a summary focused on the most relevant skills for the position.


Accomplishments Not Responsibilities

Your resume should not be a list of all the responsibilities in your job description.  It should instead focus on your accomplishments.  What value did the company receive by having you in that role?  Where possible, quantify the results.  A few bullet points of clear accomplishments with measurable results is significantly more valuable than a laundry list of responsibilities.




Key Words Matter

With computers often doing the initial resume reviews, key words are more critical than ever.  Review the job description and highlight the key words that are important to the company for this position.  Ensure that the relevant key words appear in your resume and cover letter.  If the job is truly worth applying for, it is worth the time to customize your resume and cover letter.  Increase the chances of getting your resume into the hands of the hiring manager by passing the initial screen.


Leverage Your Real Estate

Your resume should never exceed two pages and should be limited to one page if you have seven years of experience or less.  Maximize the value of your resume real estate by focusing more attention on recent and relevant experience.  Older jobs can be a quick bullet point so you can focus on the most relevant experience for this opportunity.  You are not writing a biography, it is a summary of your professional accomplishments.  While the words don’t have to be exactly the same, the experience on your resume should match your experience in LinkedIn.  Be sure to use bullet points that start with action verbs in the correct tense.  Avoid the obvious such as “references available on request.”


Be sure your resume is up to date and has no spelling or grammatical errors to ensure that you have the opportunity for a hiring manager to review your resume and determine that they want to invite you for an interview.


Tips for Attention Getting Resumes #1

Tips for a Successful Resume #1

A resume is not likely to land you a job, but it is a critical step in being considered.  Flawless execution is expected.  Don’t give the hiring manager any reason to move your resume immediately to the “reject” pile.

What a Resume Is and Isn’t – A resume is a summary of your professional experience, education and skills.  It should focus on accomplishments.  A resume is not a summary of your job responsibilities for each position you’ve held. 

Formatting Matters – For an initial resume review it is likely that someone will spend less than a minute reviewing your resume.  If you want them to spend more time and really see what you have to offer, it needs to be concise, easy to read and the key information must be easy to find.  Your resume should not exceed one page unless you have more than ten years of experience.  Be sure you use white space to keep it visually appealing.  You must have your contact information – address, email and telephone – so they can easily reach you if they are interested.  You should always use a professional looking email address with just your name – avoid cute nicknames etc. when job searching.  Quickest path to the reject pile is typos or grammatical errors.  Be sure to proof your resume and carefully and have someone else proof it as well.

Open Strong – They first thing they read should give them a quick sense of who you are and what you could do for them.  I strongly recommend starting with a summary statement focused on your key transferable skills and core competencies.  Whenever possible, focus on key words from the job description.  The summary gives the reader a lens through which they read the rest of your resume.  Catch their attention from their first glance.  Employers I work with find a summary statement preferable to an objective.  Often job seekers have specific objectives that do not relate to the job they are applying for.

Honesty is the best and only policy – A resume is the factual history of your work experience.  Do not embellish or overate your accomplishments or responsibilities.  Employers value integrity and you demonstrate that by being honest and forthright in all your interactions, starting with your resume.  Many companies will use outside firms to perform verifications with prior employers and schools.

In the early stages of the recruiting the process, your resume is you.  It needs to represent you professionally and accurately so they will want to know more about you.  While you resume will not likely land you the job, it needs to catch their attention so you will advance in the process.  

Watch future postings for additional resume tips.