Résumé Writing: Is Less Really More?

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For a long time, job seekers have been told that it's in their best interest to keep résumés short and sweet—everything about your professional identity should be limited to one page. Perhaps that's the norm if you are an entry level employee with little professional experience but the job market has shifted considerably: those rules no longer apply.

It's important to keep in mind the "one page résumé" meme was created during a time where no one had ever heard of a tablet, or at least most people weren't using them to scroll through resume after resume. Long gone are the days of boxes full of "hard copies" to sort through. Although the ten second rule may still apply, in today's competitive market it's those with less to say about their job skills and experience that may suffer the consequences.

Some job hunters mistakenly apply "less is more" to the efforts they put into customizing their résumés for each potential job. The one-size-fits-all approach may actually work against you, especially if you are attempting to compete in several different career fields. For instance, you may have experience as a receptionist, a sales associate, and in telemarketing but your resume doesn't specify anything beyond, "administrative assistant" when competing for jobs in all of these categories. It may seem like a lot of work to have four separate résumés for each relevant career field, but it will help you look more in tune with what a possible employer wants.

Also consider the qualities and requirements listed for jobs. Many seeking employment waste space on a resume including information about themselves that have nothing to do with what the specific employer is even looking for! Whenever you observe qualifications and preferences, it may help to customize your résumé to match those items as closely as possible.

Instead of worrying about how much space to use, whether you should write more or less, think of what you're actually trying to say. Think even harder about what your individual would-be employers want rather than seeing them as all the same. The more effort you put into customizing your résumé for each job you apply for, the more you're likely to stand out.

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