If you ever find yourself struggling to keep your resume at a manageable length, you could be including more than you should. Hiring managers typically spend less than a minute scanning your resume before deciding whether or not to proceed, so just as it’s important to make sure all your important attributes are listed, it’s critical to make sure you aren’t cluttering your CV with repetitive, unnecessary, or even harmful information. If you feel that your resume is too long, here are 5 things that you can remove from your resume in order to make sure the most important elements get the attention they deserve.
- An objective. In the past, this was often a common facet of the resume format and was the first thing a hiring manager or recruiter looked for. Today, depending on the position, it may be seen as unnecessary and could take up valuable space. Whatever you would have said in your objective can easily be communicated in your cover letter, so save the top of your resume for your most valuable information.
- Irrelevant, or very short, jobs. It’s one thing to include temporary jobs that display necessary skills and experience, but you don’t want to seem like a job hopper by having a page-long list of past positions. Instead, cut out jobs that are irrelevant to the position you’re applying for and keep short-term jobs to a minimum. You don’t want your best accomplishments and long-term jobs to be overshadowed by clutter.
- A list of references or “references available upon request.” It’s implied that, should you have been previously employed, you’ll have references to provide. Just don’t include them on your resume. Save them for the interview or if/when an employer directly asks for them.
- Outdated or unrelated skills. Many still choose to include a “Skills” section in their resume, and it’s a useful section to have—if you use it right. Don’t include any skills that aren’t relevant to the position or that are clearly outdated (i.e., stating that you’re proficient in an entry-level skill when you’re already well into a field that clearly requires that). Also, be sure to avoid including…
- Cliché skills. Stating that you have “excellent communication and organizational skills” is unnecessary. First, anyone can claim to have those skills. Second, if you do have those skills, they will be seen through the organization of your resume and the conciseness of your cover letter. Many job listings may include these skills as requirements, but hiring managers understand that they are skills that require action, not words.
Once you’ve trimmed the excess from your CV, you can reorganize it to make it easier on the hiring manager’s eyes. If it still runs a bit long, it’s okay to play with margins and font size within reason. Just be sure that it still looks presentable. General guidelines for resumes are 10-12 point font and 1” margins, but ½” margins can also work well if yours is still running a bit long. Likewise, a 9 point font may not look like a significant difference but could easily reduce your resume’s length by a line or two. Whether a recruiter at a staffing firm or someone you met at a networking event is reviewing your resume, you want to make sure it represents and highlights your best skills and doesn’t distract readers with unnecessary information.