As a professional resume writer, clients have brought thousands of resumes to me that are in desperate need of surgery.

One of the biggest mistakes that people make is that their resume is too long.  I’ve seen some resumes that stretch to 10 pages or more!

A general rule of thumb is to keep it to three pages or less.  Any more and you will often find your resume on the dreaded “no” pile.  Not on merit, but because recruiters just don’t have the time or inclination to wade through so much information.

So how can you keep your resume nice and brief while still putting your best foot forward?

Don’t include hobbies.  It’s great that you collect stamps, like watching movies and enjoy trekking through the Andes.  Alas, unless the job that you’re applying for includes these activities, employers don’t really care and you’re not improving your chances of being successful.  Keep these things for your Facebook profile.

Keep it relevant.  Whilst many people are justifiably proud of their achievements from their career, if these achievements are not recent or relevant to the role or industry that you are applying for, then you need to seriously question whether or not they should remain.

What have you done lately?  Unless there is a compelling reason to keep it in there, giving a lot of information from a role that you did 10 or more years ago is not going to help you much.  It’s reasonable and expected to put in a lot of information about your skills and achievements from your 2 or 3 most recent roles, but after that, I would recommend keeping it to the bare minimum.  The only exception to this could be if you are returning to an industry that you’ve worked in a few roles ago.

Leave out unnecessary personal information.  Name, address, phone numbers, email address and for some people a link to their LinkedIn profile.  That should be the only personal information that you are entering.  Your age, marital status, ethnicity, country of birth, religion, and non-smoking status is irrelevant and unnecessary more often than not.

Hopefully these tips help you to keep your resume succinct, easy to read and relevant to the job that you’re applying for.

Combine this with a great application letter and you are well on your way.

These are my ideas for keeping your resume short, do you have any others that you would like to share?

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