Be Succinct. Eliminate Noise from Your Resume.

Eliminate noise from your resume

Many job postings receive hundreds or thousands of applications and the recruiters reviewing these resumes are looking for reasons to eliminate you from the candidate pool. Your resume is a piece of precious real estate. A one-page resume is ideal, although two is acceptable if your experience warrants a full second page. Beyond two pages, you’ve most likely lost the reader’s attention. Below are some tips and tricks to help you be more succinct in your presentation and be selected to move forward in the hiring process.

The Header

Your audience needs to know who you are and how to get a hold of you. That’s it. If the position requires a credential you have, for example a CPA license or something comparable in your field, list this after your name. You do not need to include your address; it takes up space and provides unnecessary information. Additionally, only include the best phone number at which you can be reached, not home and cell, and ensure your email address is professional and appropriate. Do not use your current work email address on your resume.


Include a Summary

The objective is outdated. Your objective is to get the job to which you applied. A summary allows your resume to stand on its own, and for someone to have a good understanding of how your education, experience, skills and strengths can add value to a new organization or role. List this section first and highlight your key skills that are relevant for the role. These highlights must be supported in your detailed accomplishments in the experience section. A good summary will tell the recruiter/hiring manager why you are a fit for the position and make them feel compelled to reach out to you. Note: this should be tailored to each job you apply. It’s your opportunity to tie your document to that specific job.

Combine Experience With One Organization

If you have been promoted or held multiple roles in one organization, only list the company once and your total time with the organization to the right. This will show longer tenure with one company and eliminate what may appear to be job hopping.


Awards & Competitions

Being recognized for your achievements makes you feel good and you want to humbly brag when applying to new opportunities. Ask yourself these questions before you list them:

  • Can I clearly articulate the reason(s) I was recognized?
  • How many people receive this award annually, monthly, weekly?
  • How many people were eligible?

Grammer Choices

Use First Person: Write your resume in first person without the use of pronouns.

DO: Conceive, launch, and develop content for company blog…

DON’T: I conceived, launched, and develop content for our company’s blog…

Eliminate Articles: Eliminate “a” and “the” will save a few characters and get to the point just the same. This can be the difference between wrapping to another line and saving precious space for more important information.

DO: Developed Excel model to expedite and simplify employment statistics reporting…

DON’T: Developed an Excel model to expedite and simplify the employment statistics reporting…

*** This works for resumes, not in cover letters, emails, or other forms of communication. ***

Eliminate Weak Action Verbs: Always start each bullet point with a strong action verb.

DO: Supervise team of 6…

DON’T: Responsible for supervising a team of 6…

Which statement has more impact? Which is more direct? Adding weak verbs such as responsible for and assisted with add characters and diminished the impact of what you did. Simply say what you do.

Remember, your resume doesn’t need to include everything you’ve ever done in your career, although it must be truthful. Your resume should detail highlights and spark curiosity in the reader. It is merely a conduit to get you invited to a face to face or phone interview with a company. Also, the resume will guide the interviewer through the interview. As such, your time and effort will make your interviews easier because you will be driving the conversation by the content you place on the resume. You can talk about experiences and successes not on your resume in an interview, but if it is on your resume, you are welcoming detailed questions. Be succinct, get your point across effectively, and get hired!

Melissa Shapiro has been helping professionals write resumes since 2005, while collaborating to find the next step in their career. She is currently the Recruiting Director for Precision Recruiting Solutions Group, LLC, a boutique staffing firm placing candidates in accounting, finance, and human resources functions on a temporary, temporary-to-hire and director hire basis. She spent 9 years in career management, supporting masters level business students in full-time, professional, and executive MBA programs, as well as specialized master’s degree programs. Melissa has a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with concentrations in Marketing and Finance, Bachelor of Arts in Economics, and her MBA.