If you are anything like me, you don’t really think about your resume until you need it. Then when the time comes to look for a job, you search through your email and old files to find the resume that you used when you interviewed for your last job. Typically to save time you add on your current position/responsibilities and hit the ground running.
If you rewind back 5 or 10 years this strategy would have worked. As long as you have all of your current information on paper you were in good shape. But as the recruiting world has evolved you have less and less time to make an impression. As we mentioned in How Long Do Employers Look at My Resume, you have a whopping 6 seconds to make an impression. With that being said, it is absolutely vital to cut out anything from your resume that isn’t relevant to the position in which you are applying.
So what can you get rid of?
1. Irrelevant Information
When it comes to writing your resume, one of the most important things to remember is that you should try to relate your experience to the position in which you are applying. Since employers only spend a few seconds looking at your resume, you need to be sure that they find what they are looking for.
The best way to do this is to look at the job listing and see what specific experience you have that matches their needs. After adding in this information, try your best to remove skills and experience that are irrelevant to the potential role. You can also remove old positions and experience that may not carry over to this position. A good rule of thumb is to only list your last 3-4 positions and try to keep it to around 2 pages.
Many times in your career you may do the same job, but just for a different company. Be careful here. You do not want list the same position, with the same responsibilities, and just change the company name. It is more important to highlight your responsibilities and focus on your accomplishments at that particular organization. Think about quality over quantity here! If an employer sees redundancy, they may assume that you do not possess the skills needed to advance your career.
3. Images, Graphics, and Weird Formatting
If you are a designer or applying for a creative position, these things are typically a requirement when applying for a new role. However, if you do not work in that space it is a good idea to cut out images, graphics, and unique formatting. These tend to make your resume look messy and it may put you at a disadvantage when an employer is searching for a specific background. We recommend keeping your resume clean and professional.
4. Objective Statement
Your objective statement is another part of your resume that used to be a “must have” that has recently been tailing off. Many professionals believe that this isn’t necessary because it usually just states that you are interested in the job that you are applying for. They say that it only takes up precious resume space. I recommend cutting it from your resume. You can choose to either add a small section that gives an overview of your skills and experience (Summary or Professional Profile) or just dive right into your background.
Even in today’s world of autocorrect and spell check typos still happen. I have seen instances where employers had a qualified candidate with typos on their resume and they decided to pass. Believe me. It happens! Be sure to read your resume aloud and have someone else take a look just to be safe!
If you are just starting your search and need to write your resume use our EZ resume kit to help you get going!
Dan Metz is the Director of Executive Search and Employee Development at the Resilience Group, LLC, and Co-Founder and Contributing Author for Need a New Gig. Follow his blog for more great tips like this!