How to Save Room on Your Resume – Part I

by on July 19th, 2013

This resume tip is written by Igor Khayet, founder of My Resume Shop.

As a professional resume writer, one of the most common questions I get asked is how to shorten a resume to one page without losing critical information. This question does not only come from experienced professionals (who have to fit a lot of work experience in a short space), but also from students and young professionals.

The following is an easy to follow list that will help you save space on your resume and focus on the most important accomplishments. Tip number one is below; stay tuned for the rest of the series.

Tip #1: Decrease the Number of Sections

I have seen resumes with 10 or more sections, which takes away the entire purpose of a section heading.

The idea is to make your resume easy to follow and organized, not overwhelmingly subdivided. Volunteer WorkComputer SkillsHonors/Awards, Interests can be condensed into one section heading: “Additional Information and Skills”.

Don’t get too carried away though: your choice of which sections to use should correspond to the intended goal of the resume. A Graduate School or PhD candidate may have a separate section for “Publications” or “Presentations,” while a Computer Programmer may have a special section for “Computer Languages/Programs.” Use common sense to make these judgments depending on what is more relevant to the graduate school program you are applying for.

Rearranging the sections on a resume can save valuable space. Secondary information — like volunteer experience, computer skills, and languages — can be consolidated into a single line instead of a longer bulleted list.

Igor Khayet is the President and Founder of My Resume Shop. He is a former Admissions Interviewer for the Yale School of Management and a member of the Professional Association of Resume Writers & Career Coaches. Connect with him on Facebook and Twitter.

2 comments

  • Thanks for the post, I am always trying to find ways to reduce the size of my graduate cv, its really hard as I have so much I want to say. I find if I provide a cover letter you can get lots of information in that and tailor it towards the specific graduate job as well. Also I use text boxes in word and then you can move information around the page more, still looking through lots of graduate jobs but I hopefully will find the right one soon.

  • As a busy hiring manager who reads lots of resumes, my advice is to put all your RESULTs, in a bullet list that occupies the first third to half page.   Don't think of your resume as a journal where you share everything you want to say.  Think of it as a movie trailer, where you just want to say enough, to hook an audience to come to the movie.  

    Also, keep in mind that I know people work in teams now.  Often it is the TEAM result that matters.   For instance, I am a co-inventor of web conferencing.  Web conferencing is the result that matters, even though I didn't do it all single handedly. If you are interested, when we talk I can explain what I specifically did and did not do that contributed to that result -- but that creates a good reason to talk.  So whether you are a programmer who wrote the program that sold twice as much as the previous version, or the marketer who created the roll out plan that created those sales, or the sales rep who beat their quota to achieve those results, for heaven sake at least tell me that your contributions enabled your organization to "double sales in just  one year!"  Those are  accomplishments that will get you in the HOT-CONTACTS stack, even though they weren't single handed.

    If you get my interest in that first half page, I'll put you in the HOT-CONTACT stack.   If not, you go in the TOSS stack. If you make it into the contact stack, I might or might not review the rest of the resume, looking for interesting bits to ask you questions about, but you've already got my attention and I am going to call you.

    Don't assume that if I ask you a question that your resume has failed you, and you better answer that question in the next version of your resume.   You WANT me to ask questions, that makes me call you and talk to you, and let's YOU get to tell me what you mean in detail.  

    The only thing you want to avoid is me guessing about something and inventing a story why I shouldn't contact you.   But making me curious is good, just like a movie trailer that tells you the whole movie doesn't work as well as one that makes you curious to see the movie to find out what happens.  

    So if you have a "gap" on your resume, if you say nothing I might guess you did nothing of value and might pass on you -- unless that first half page had something really interesting -- then the gap doesn't matter.   If you tell me you filled the time with "continuing education" I might guess it was relevant and not give it a 2nd thought.     If you tell me "Embarked in an amazing journey of self discovery for 2 years -- ask if interested".   I might be curious and you might just turn that gap into a plus.

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