“Since brevity is the soul of wit and tediousness the limbs and outward flourishes, I will be brief.”
– William Shakespeare
As a poet, Shakespeare understood the preeminence of being succinct. I think it is safe to make the conjecture that if this quality was important in 1595, just imagine how crucial it is today, especially for hiring managers when leafing through thousands of applicants’ resumes.
Take pity on your readers in the process of writing your resume and take Shakespeare’s writing secret to heart: be brief yet still powerful and impactful in a concise manner. Endeavor to find the exact word or phrase to convey your accomplishments. In corporate copywriting, it’s easy to slip into jargon. We swim in a cesspool of boring, unimaginative language. In resume writing, it takes work and commitment to find the most impactful words and turns of phrase.
Keep in mind that a four-page resume does not convey a greater breadth to your career or demonstrate you have immeasurable value with its length. Instead it bogs a reader down in text, hiding your best accomplishments amidst duties and responsibilities that are often duplicated from one position to the next. More likely than not, it is wordy and lacks the dynamic sentences needed to engage a reader and make you stand out from the crowd.
As a certified, professional resume writer, I have the opportunity to write for a wide array of professionals. Often, my client’s original documents are four- or five-page resumes exploding with a cacophony of information regarding their vast experience. The problem with that sort of diffuse presentation is that a potential employer gets lost on the first page because the material is not broken up in a reader-friendly fashion. When there is too much information in a document, the real value – what makes you unique and gives you a competitive edge – fails to come across.
Therefore, my recommendation is quite clear (and concise) when crafting your resume: limit yourself to one or two pages and break up the information with paragraphs and bullets not exceeding two lines. In general, recent graduates should almost always limit themselves to a one-page resume. Regarding seasoned professionals with extensive experience – don’t be shocked, but chances are that a one-pager may work best for you as well.
Short, succinct statements containing quantifiable results are the best way to communicate to a potential employer what you can do for them. In practicing this methodology, you will capture the attention of the hiring manager within the first 15 seconds of opportunity to get your foot in the door.
~ Victoria Andrew, CPRW
Owner, Director, and Managing Writer of Words Prevail, LLC