Trim the Fat: 5 Tips to Effectively Condense Your Resume

Trim the Fat: 5 Tips to Effectively Condense Your Resume

Your resume will get no more than a 10-second cursory overview to decide if it’s worth digging into. Can someone skim your complete resume in 10 seconds?

If your resume is over three pages long, odds are it’ll be tossed...and your chances for an interview were tossed out along with it.

Now, this doesn’t mean that you have to list one bullet per position so that it fits neatly on one page either! I’m happy to report that the rule of the one-page resume has lived its life, but excessively long resumes are still a no-no.

For most professionals, a solid overview of your experience can fit nicely onto two pages, leaving the resume easy to scan and get the highlights in a matter of seconds.


You aren’t alone. I work with people all the time who just can’t seem to cut down their experience to fewer than five pages. And trust me, 8pt font is not the solution. So how do we trim the fat?

1. If it goes without saying…don’t say it! There are some responsibilities that we know you did even without mentioning. Emailing? Answer the phone? Monitoring systems? We already know.
2. Leave it off if it isn’t relevant! Most of us have previous roles that aren’t directly related to our targeted role. Hit the highlights on those, but don’t waste space detailing experience that isn’t relevant.
3. Cover it in the accomplishments. When you detail your results and accomplishments, you can overview (if needed) how you got to them, but often it’s implied. Sometimes you can shorten the content by converting it to results, but you can always combine the responsibilities and results into one.
4. Use industry-standard acronyms. Self-explanatory, but do make sure they aren’t corporate lingo. It’s also not a bad idea to have the whole thing spelled out once somewhere else in the resume just to be safe.
5. Thin it out as it gets older. As your experience gets 10 or more years old, it will most likely warrant less detail. Sometimes relevance overrides this rule, but it’s a good general rule.

Overall, the idea is: no fillers, no irrelevant information…just the meat that is going to grab their attention and get them to read more.