In this weekly series, our friends at MBA Career Coaches will be dispensing invaluable advice to help you actively manage your career. Topics include building your network, learning from mistakes and setbacks, perfecting your written communication, and mastering even the toughest interviews.
In our previous post, we discussed some mistakes that waste space on a resume. Those were “tactical” mistakes, if you will, in which individuals included information that they should have omitted. Today, we share a few space savers that are purely stylistic. The wrong style can cost you valuable real estate!
- Your contact information takes up five lines: Your contact information should consist of only one or two lines. You don’t need to use a separate line for your name, street address, city and state, email address, etc. Doing so is just a huge waste of space. You can use those extra lines to offer additional details about yourself or include some white space elsewhere to avoid clutter. Limit your contact information to two lines max!
- You are wasting your margins: Yes, you can waste white space, too! When you look at your resume, examine your margins. Many candidates will shrink their margins widthwise and leave huge white spaces at the top and bottom, but this looks imbalanced. First, don’t stretch your resume right to the edges of the page—this makes your document awkward to read. Next, make sure that your text is spread somewhat evenly throughout the document and that all your margins (i.e., left, right, top, and bottom) are balanced. By stretching your resume top to bottom, you will have a much better chance of maintaining a single page (99% of the time, your goal should be a one-page resume). And don’t forget to shrink the overall word count by eliminating unnecessary text.
- Your bullet points are too long: No one will read a five-line bulleted item! Few people will read anything longer than two lines, in fact. If you have very long bulleted items, then you are wasting space. Each bullet point should express a single idea (this means there should not be any periods withim a bullet)—a single action with a clear result derived from that action—and nothing more. Take a look at long bullet points and consider eliminating information to get to the heart of the matter. See more tips on how to do that in this series of posts. And, if you have bundled a variety of points in a single bullet, include only the few that are most important.
Making an impactful resume goes beyond just including powerful content. It also requires finesse and style in editing and design. Don’t make it crazy, just make it clean and simple.