Resume Too Long? Here’s What To Do

If your resume is stretching onto two pages, don’t despair. Here are some tips to help you shorten your resume!

Step One: Use Space Efficiently

Margins
Margins can be smaller for resumes than for other documents.
Narrowest option: 0.5” margins all around.
If space is available, use 0.5″ on top & bottom, 0.75″ on left & right.

Contact Information
Your contact info can be combined on one line, two at most.
For readability, add a separator (not a comma) between items. Examples:
rhett@bu.edu  ·  617-555-1234  ·  Boston, MA  ·  http://www.linkedin.com/in/rhett
rhett@bu.edu   |  617-555-1234  |  Boston, MA  |  www.linkedin.com/in/rhett

Line spacing: don’t overspace
Between items within the same section, add only 1/2 line of blank space, not a full line break.
Use single space for all lines within the same item—organization, position title, and bullets.

Font size: don’t go bigger than needed
The default font size of 12 points is larger than needed.
11-point works for all font styles. 10.5 works for some, but avoid any smaller.

Step Two: Reduce Content

Sections: options to reduce
Combine separate sections into one (e.g. Activities & Community Service).
Change one section into a sub-section of another (e.g. put Honors & Awards within Education).

Length of bullets: options to reduce
For bullets barely over one line: re-phrase to fit on one line.
For two short bullets: combine to make one, single-line bullet.

Last resort: options to remove content
Eliminate less relevant bullets for experiences with more than 3-4 bullets.
Eliminate some items altogether. Rules of thumb for removing content:

  • older items that are redundant to more recent ones
  • high school information and experiences
  • less relevant to position applying for
  • less impressive positions or achievements
  • positions with less responsibility
  • oldest experiences

If you use these tips, you should be able to get your resume down to a length that will get positive attention from employers. Want more advice on improving your resume? Get a custom resume review online with VMock!

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