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TMI: The Résumé Destroyer

"They say my résumé should be only one page long. Is that correct?"

Not necessarily. Many résumés are rightly two, three, or even more pages in length.

On the other hand, many résumés are far longer than necessary. Carelessly written, they contain "TMI"-"Too Much Information"-and that mind-numbing surplus can damage or destroy a résumé's ability to generate a job interview.

Here are some tips to help you avoid that possibility:

Eliminate "fluff." Some of us use bloated, hackneyed, or empty phrasing that just takes up space. For example, a résumé's objective might say something like "Accomplished Mechanical Engineer seeks an upwardly mobile, challenging position in a growing company." Better: "A continuing career in Mechanical Engineering." Be ruthless in cutting out language that serves no plausible purpose.

Weed out the unnecessary. Few readers enjoy plowing through overly detailed job descriptions on a résumé. Make sure your duties, responsibilities, and achievements are described in only as much detail as necessary.

Avoid "flop-overs." Save space better used elsewhere by rewriting sentences or paragraphs that end with only a few words on the next line or on the next page. Not only will your writing look neater, but you may also save space better used elsewhere.

Downplay old experience. In most cases, the last 10 - 15 years of our work experience are the most relevant to our next job. Showcase your skills and achievements in that span in as much detail as prudent. Then, shorten earlier job descriptions accordingly.

Use bullets. Use bullets (but not too many) to describe achievements or skill sets because?

• They often take up less space.
• They allow you to prioritize more easily.
• They grab the reader's attention. (See?)

Use different formatting. Change the top, side, and bottom margins to as little as one half inch if appearance permits. Or reduce the size of your text font to 10 point (but no smaller). Or try using a font like Garamond instead of Times New Roman: it will take up less space. Or try using a condensed font such as Weissach Condensed. A little experimentation will probably yield big results; however, whether you use these suggestions or others, just make sure readability is not harmed.

Delete "References Furnished on Request." Often found at the end of a résumé, the phrase has little importance. If an employer wants references, he will ask for them anyway.

Utilizing the tips above, you may be able to reduce the length of your résumé by a page or more without sacrificing meaning, impact, or readability. In fact, when your copy is clear, concise, and properly formatted, it gives you more space to set forth your skills and achievements in a professional and well-appreciated fashion. Try it-you'll see what I mean!

Pierre Daunic, senior consultant for R.L. Stevens & Associates Inc. (http://www.interviewing.com), a career marketing firm and organization celebrating over 24 years of providing strategic marketing solutions for its clients' career transitioning needs.


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