Having your resume spill onto an errant 2nd, 3rd, or 4th page is the resume equivalent of having to lay down to button your jeans.
So close yet so far.
In today’s video, I’m going to point out some resume space wasters that you can easily trim down in order to make your resume perfectly fit that goal 1 page, 2 pages, or more. And we’re not talking about little tweaks, we’re going to be talking about options for cutting whole resume sections.
First of all, I want to remind you, there is no actual rule around resume page length. Anything you’ve heard is arbitrary, rumor, or marketing in the form of fear-mongering.
I have a whole video on resume page length that you can watch after this video.
While the number of pages truly does not matter, we want our resumes to look well-planned and intentional. So when we have a straggler page with a couple lines spilling onto it, this doesn’t look well-planned nor intentional. We’ll want to clean that up.
Let’s take a look at the usual resume space wasting suspects, and what you should do about them. We’ll be using Michael Scott’s resume to help us through the process.
Awards & Achievements Section
In the days of yore, you may have seen some resumes with an awards and achievements section on them near the bottom of the resume.
Often these sections identify awards, obviously as the subheader indicates, work achievements, recognition in the community, etc.
Why They Awards & Achievements Section Is A Resume Space Waster
This section is a big resume space waster because it requires it comes with a subheader, and at least 2 or 3 bullets highlighting awards – you surely wouldn’t want just one award hanging out there on its own.
What To Do Instead Of Including An Awards & Achievements Section
Instead of having this section, still highlight the awards and achievements, but under the job, schooling, or volunteering in which it happened.
This will help give context to your contributions, and demonstrate how you utilized the skills that you’ve claimed in your skills section.
Hobbies & Interests Section
There’s an argument that including a hobbies and interests section is a great way to humanize yourself as a job seeker. I call BS on this one.
Of all the sections on your resume, I see this one as the big daddy of space wasters. Not to mention, it can put your personal life under the microscope, and exposed to bias.
Why They Hobbies & Interests Section Is A Resume Space Waster
First of all, hobbies and interests do not humanize you any more than using keywords shows you’re qualified for a job. Tell me how including underwater basket weaving makes you seem more human than someone who doesn’t include that on their profile. Tell me how listing cake decorating on your resume makes it more personal?
It’s the arbitrary add of things that you do in your personal life.
And your personal life should largely be kept under lock and key in most cases because any info you offer is fair game for bias and scrutiny.
Maybe you share on your resume that you’re interested in left-wing politics; what if the recruiter or hiring manager is a conservative? More on religion and politics on your resume in a recent video.
Perhaps you share that you’re into MMA, but what if the recruiter or hiring manager considers that violent?
Maybe you mention that you are part of an MLM; this could be considered a distraction.
What To Do Instead Of Including A Hobbies & Interests Section
Focus on writing a resume, cover letter, and LinkedIn profile that showcases your qualifications as well as your commitment to contributing at work. Don’t worry, you don’t seem like a robot because you didn’t talk about how you spend your spare time.
Volunteering Section (Maybe)
A volunteering section on a resume is a “nice to have”, it is by no means necessary. I’ve also seen a lot of talk amongst recruiters that they really don’t care about volunteering, unless it’s related to your target job, fills an employment gap, or you may have sat on a couple or more boards.
Why They Volunteering Section Could Be A Resume Space Waster
When I’m writing resumes for my clients, the volunteering, or community involvement, or community leadership section is the first thing that I’ll trim to save space for more important things like work experience and work accomplishments.
I’ll also automatically eliminate the volunteering section if my client hasn’t volunteered in the past 5 years, or only has 1 short volunteering role in the past five years, like working 1 holiday season at a shelter.
So in looking at Michael’s resume, his volunteering section will be completely cut since Scott’s Tots was dismantled 11 years ago. Keeping this section makes Michael look like he is not an avid contributor to the community, and that he’s just including this one volunteer gig for his own ego.
What To Do Instead Of Including A Volunteering Section
If you do opt to cut your volunteer work from your resume, you can absolutely transplant it over to your LinkedIn profile where you have endless room.
If you only have one short stint of volunteering that fills an employment gap, you can use this as a short one-liner to let the reader know what you’ve been up to during your gap.
I’m often seeing professionals in project-based roles creating separate sections outside of their professional experience that list projects. This is a huge space waster.
Why They Projects Section Is A Resume Space Waster
The inherent problem with this approach is either it’s unclear under which job or time the project happened, or you’re creating work for the reader where they have to refer to the projects section AND the job in which it happened to get a good understanding of the work you actually did and how you demonstrate your skills.
What To Do Instead Of Including A Projects Section
You should be including project highlights under the job in which they happened. Further, the projects you do highlight should be the BEST of all your projects that best demonstrate your qualifications for your target job.
And the projects section on your LinkedIn profile? Don’t bother with it. It’s not user-friendly enough for anyone to read it. As in, no one reads it.
Huge Skills Section
If your skills section is massive, we’ve got a problem.
Why A Huge Skills Section Is A Resume Space Waster
What we’ve got here is a skills or areas of expertise section that is symptomatic of having a functional resume. Functional resumes do us no favours as job seekers. More on that in my video about Functional vs. Chronological resumes.
These huge skills sections a la functional resumes don’t help the reader get any idea of where you demonstrated your skills or when, which means, they can’t assess whether or not you’re actually qualified for your target role.
What To Do Instead Of A Huge Skills Section
Skills sections on your resume should be very brief, highlighting skills that are required and desired of you in your target role. They should then be backed up with accomplishments in your professional experience section.
These are just a few of the massive resume space wasters that you can cut to keep your resume fitting nicely on your intended page length.
Did you have any of these resume space wasters on your resume? Would you like another video on other ways to save some space on your resume? Tell me in the comments below.