Don’t clutter your resume with all of your stuff. You may love your stuff, but it will overwhelm the reader. You’ve heard it before––less is better––but there it is––all your stuff. Everything is too important to take off.
Imagine the last time you went on a vacation or camping trip to get away from it all. You didn’t take all of your stuff with you. You chose the things that you would need for your trip. If you packed everything from home that you really like, you would never make it on your trip.
I’m on vacation this week at a lovely beach house. I come to the beach house to get away from my stuff because it can feel like work to manage it all. The more experiences I have, the more stuff I seem to collect. So on vacation, I bring what I will need for a week at the beach and surrounding sights. I take my phone, laptop, clothes I need for the beach, and my basic essentials that I take with me on any trip. I have my essentials in a bag ready to go. I add to my bag what I need for each specific occasion. In fact, after a week without all of my stuff, it is much easier to clear out what I don’t need.
You have great stuff. If you start with high school, your first job, or include every accomplishment, there is just too much of it. The more experience you have the more you will need to filter out to find the most relevant experience for the employer. You don’t want the employer to set aside your resume because it’s just too much to look at.
What can you do? Create a master resume with all of your stuff. Include all of your experiences and accomplishments. Then pull out your basic essentials you will need for all resumes and create a template. When you apply for a job, you might move education up or down on your resume depending on whether your education or experience is more important for that job, but you have the basics. You don’t send the employer all of your stuff. It will feel like too much work to dig out what is important.
Don’t overload the employer with all of your stuff. A smaller employer who is unknown with few applications to look through might read your whole resume. If it is interesting and well written, it might grab his or her attention. But a larger employer offering a reasonable salary will have hundreds or thousands of resumes to look through. They are looking for a reason to set yours aside. Don’t make him or her work at finding all that you have to offer. Make it clear, concise, relevant, and uncluttered.
If your resume is focused, related to the specific employer you are targeting, with the most important information at the top of the resume, you can easily get a glance from the employers. Make that glance count and they will read your resume to the end.
Write your master resume, prepare a template resume of essentials any employer would want to know, research companies, prepare a custom resume for every company you want to target. Pull out key words from the job description to match your skills. Look at the company website for values that match yours. Use those key words and values in your resume. Run a spell check, and then ask someone to read your resume. If you have no one to read it for you, then wait a few hours or a day and read it again.
If you are on an active job search, you will choose how many hours each week you will spend on your research, resume, and networking. Get out there and get going. You have a lot to offer. If you are not sure what to do, then unstuff your resume and get it out there. Enjoy the adventure!
Coaching for Career, Writing & Creative Problem-Solving
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