7 Easy Tips for writing a good resume – Tip 6 – Brevity

Today, the discussion is on brevity and so I will try to lead by example.

The Basic rules:

  1. In writing your resume, be as brief as possible (if you can keep to 2 pages without going to less than 10 point text that is ultimate) Don’t write one more word than you have to.
  2. Don’t go back more than 15 years of your career unless it is necessary to demonstrate your qualifications or if you worked somewhere 20 years (of course)
  3. If you start going down memory lane in your resume about jobs you held that have nothing to do with what you do now – get off at the nearest exit! You are making your resume too long for no good reason.

Some exceptions:

If you are a career consultant and have had many “projects”, it can get quite long- and that’s OK. My suggestion is to not do a chronological resume, but more of a summary by whatever seems most logical: Industry, role, function, etc., so it is more organized and readers can skip to the relevant parts.

If you have a career that is highly specialized, you probably need to get more in the weeds about duties and accomplishments (remember, these are just as important.)

The way to see if your resume is too long is to do what I call the “glaze” test. Give it to someone (who will be objective) and observe them as they read your resume. When you see their eyes start to look glazed over or all of a sudden start reading incredibly quickly and basically skim the last page or pages, stop them there. Ask where you started to lose their interest or the resume went off topic. It will be a good barometer for gauging the length.

OK, so in summary err on the side of Cliff Notes as opposed to War and Peace and you will be good.

Next Tip: resumes and job boards

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