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Tips From a Recruiter: Optimize Your Resume

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I do fall into the camp of people who believe resumes should fit one page. I have never loved looking at resumes that went onto two pages if there wasn’t an absolutely critical reason for it. Most of the candidates I’ve screened/interviewed in my career have had under ten years of experience, and I feel that type of experience can be summarized on one page.

As a recruiter, when you are screening hundreds of resumes at a time, you just want to get the picture and know the person’s story as quickly as possible—without the fluff.

A lot of people come to work with me with two page resumes and I’ve always been able to get it down to one. Here are six basic tips and tactics to fit your resume onto one page.

Cut out some content

It is very possible that you have experience on your resume that is outdated or not relevant, and it may be time to cut that out or minimize it.

For example, once you’ve been in the working world for a few years, your internships (while in school) probably don’t need as much airtime. It can even make you come across more junior than you want to if you highlight them too much.

Once you’ve had one or two full time jobs under your belt, put those experiences in another section called “Internship Experience” and just list them out without descriptive bullets (or take them out all together).

Also, unless it is relevant to the roles you are applying for, remove any babysitting, bartending, or ice cream serving gigs that you took to save up money while in school or job searching.

Keep your bullets succinct

You want the bullets detailing your experience to be relevant and succinct. They don’t need to be a laundry list of every task you’ve ever done in a job. Keep most sections between three to six bullets. Your most relevant jobs should have more bullets and shorter stints (that have less of an impact on your “story” should have less.

Skills, volunteer experience, and hobbies don’t need to have a huge amount of real estate on your resume. You can list skills, hobbies, and volunteer experiences next to each other rather than in separate bullets. However if your volunteer experience is extensive and a big part of how you spend your time, consider having a separate section for it with more detail. For example:

  • Skills: Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Taleo, Photoshop, AS400
  • Hobbies: Biking, tennis, photography
  • Volunteer experience: Junior League, Boys and Girls Club

Change your font style and size
Times New Roman size 9.5 or 10 is a font/size combination that is very clear and easy to read, but also doesn’t take up a lot of space. If you feel like everything is looking a little smushed, go to the paragraph settings and make the line spacing 1.1 or 1.2. That can make it look a lot cleaner.

Change your margins

Having wide margins, which is usually the default, is a huge waste of space. Don’t let that be the reason you resume is going onto page two. Adjust your margins in Microsoft Word by selecting document under the format and then customizing the margins. I recommend the margins as follows: Top=.3 Bottom=.65 Right/Left=.5.

Reduce the size of your contact information

Some people think this part of the resume needs to be fancy or huge, and it doesn’t. Make sure you name is in a slightly larger size than the rest of the resume (size 12 or 14 is fine), but there’s no need to get crazy with the fonts or size.

Hopefully these tactics will help you fit your amazing experience onto one lovely page, something I assure you recruiters will appreciate.

What resume tactics have worked for you? Leave a comment to share your own tips!

Ask Daisy Auger-Dominguez, Levo mentor and Vice President, Recruitment and Organization & Workplace Diversity at Disney ABC Television Group, about what she looks for in a candidate!

Photo: Thinkstock


#Job Hunt Resumes Career Advice
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Nice article Jaime- succinct & relevant, like a resume should be!

Jaime - thank you for giving clarity to a world that is very mysterious to us job seekers! We're certainly are all trying to do our best so this unlocks a lot of the unknown!

Love this, I already use Pocket and Rapportive, but is definitely something i need right now...

Aiche Sissoko
Aiche Sissoko

This is very helpful! I just made some changes to my resume.

Priyanka Panchal
Priyanka Panchal

Nice article..

Great tips! If you've taken up a volunteer position where you've gained professional experience to fill an unemployment gap, is it acceptable to list that with the same detail as a regular full-time job?

What are your thoughts on including graphic design elements to your resume?

awesome tips! THANK YOU!

Courteney Douglas
Courteney Douglas

Great points! I typically encourage job seekers to keep their resumes concise without placing too much emphasis on length. The most important part is making sure the information is well-written, strategically organized, and relevant. For those who would like additional resume help, I recommend visiting the ResumeSpice website:

Ann Sparks
Ann Sparks

Nice tips! I think organizing some of the information in two or three columns also helps. For example, you can list your skills or education section in columns. However, everything depends on your template. Some of the professional resume writers are true experts in organizing information and arranging sections on the resume.
You can see how we organize information on our resumes here:

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