Making the right choices of which details to include on your resume and which details to omit is difficult but crucial. Your resume is intended to arouse interest in your background and capabilities. Too much information not related to the job in question will only encourage the hiring manager to quickly move on to the next candidate.
Consequently, every phrase and every word should be highly relevant. Understandably, there is an impulse to add endless details to your resume since you don't want to miss any opportunity. After all, while you have your reader's attention - there is the urge to get everything out on the table. The problem is that too much information - "TMI" as my kids tell me - will tend to loose rather than keep the attention of the hiring manager. To prove this point, get a long resume of, say, a colleague and read through it.
If it is longer than two pages, unless this person has quite an exotic work history, you will almost certainly be skimming, once you are more than two pages into the resume. It may help to always keep in mind the primary objective of a resume. Actually, let's first back up and review what the resume is not. The objective is not to somehow get a job offer because you seem - based on your resume - like the answer to the hiring manager's prayers. The primary objective is to get the interview! After you get to the interview stage you will have the right setting for discussing in detail your work history and any transferable skills that apply to the job opening. Actually, when you think about it, too much information can have the opposite effect.
When a hiring manager is making decisions about a stack of candidates, all it takes is a "no" about some aspect - any aspect - of the candidate's background and into the trash your resume will go. After all, he or she has reams of resumes to choose from. Better is to provide eye-catching statements packed with action verbs, leaving the hiring manager wanting to know more. A good resume is one in which: 1 - your objectives are consistent with the company and the position being filled 2 - you a have solid track record as a competent employee who gets things done 3 - you have sufficient hands-on experience with the technical or procedural aspects of the job. As you try your hand at being economical with words, emphasize what you accomplished over what was done day to day.
In other words, emphasize what you designed, managed, created, what the company gained by your talents, etc. Most other details can be trimmed, with the exception of highly relevant keywords. Work those keywords in as bait for resume database searches. For example, if you used key software tools that every candidate is expected to know, work in a reference to those tools.
If you are at an expert level for a certain skill that sets you apart, work that in, too. How long should your resume be? If you are just starting out, or if you have worked for 10 years or less for one employer, then you should be able to keep it to one page. If you are more "senior", or if you a "fast track" employee with lots of accomplishments, then a two pager is fine. Bottom line? Concentrate on the benefit you bring to the company.
Do this in the section where you describe your career objectives. Then, make the remainder of the resume concise, hard-hitting statements to back that up, based on past accomplishments and the set of skills you have to offer.
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