How To Write a Concise Resume

Olivia Adams

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Image Credit: Resume from Bigstock.

Image Credit: Resume from Bigstock.

Do you think your resume has what it takes to catch the attention of employers?

According to a CareerBuilder survey, one in six hiring managers spend 30 seconds or less reviewing resumes. After knowing this, do you still believe your resume has what it takes to score an interview?

When it comes to writing a resume, job seekers feel pressured to “sound good.” This means they want to use “big” or “fancy” words that will make their resume sound professional and well-written. However, this approach can sometimes have the opposite effect when it comes to writing a resume.

Many job seekers fall into the trap of filling their resumes with unnecessary buzzwords, a lot of fluff, and vague descriptions of their experience. They also end up writing too much on their resume and including irrelevant experience employers don’t care about.

As employers sift through resumes, they don’t have time for wordy and fluffy applications. The want to get down to the core of your qualifications so they can determine whether or not they should call you for an interview.

Writing a concise resume definitely isn’t an easy task, nor is it fast to do. However, knowing the common mistakes and paying close attention to grammar, you can write a much more effective resume. To help you write a clear and concise resume that will get you noticed by employers, here are some helpful tips to follow:

Include relevant experience only.

When you apply for a job, employers want to know why you are qualified for the position. Hiring managers want to read about your experience and skills that are relevant to the position you’re applying for and how those qualifications make you the best fit for the organization.

To make sure your resume is up to par for your job application, spend some time customizing your resume to the job description. Even if you have a variety of experience with different jobs and employers, only include the best experience you have that relates to the job you’re applying for. By tailoring your resume to each job application, you will catch the employer’s attention.

Use the best words for a resume:

When it comes to writing a stellar resume, there are certain words and phrases hiring managers like to read. If you want to stand out to employers as they quickly scan your resume, consider using some of the following terms:

  • Achieved
  • Improved
  • Trained
  • Managed
  • Volunteered
  • Ideas
  • Launched
  • Under budget

Avoid the worst words for a resume:

Now, there are also some words you should definitely avoid at all cost when writing your resume. The last thing hiring managers want to read is a resume filled with fluff and cliches. To make sure you’re heading down the right track with your resume, here are some resume buzzwords to avoid:

  • Go-getter
  • Think outside of the box
  • Team player
  • Go-to person
  • Bottom-line
  • Hard worker
  • Dynamic
  • Self-motivated

Remove redundancy.

When writing your resume, it can be challenging to think of creative ways to write boring job descriptions for your past experience. Many job seekers often fall into the trap of using redundant phrases and words when writing their resume because they are focused on spicing up their boring jobs rather than illustrating their accomplishments.

To remove redundancy from your resume, be aware of the phrases, adjectives, and verbs you use. For example, don’t say “I’m seeking job” in your resume because the employer already knows you’re looking for a job, hence your job application.

Remove articles and helping verbs.

A major issue behind wordy resumes is excessive amount of helping verbs and articles. To tighten up your resume, watch for helping verbs such as “have,” “had,” “may,” and “to be” and articles such as “a,” “an,” and “the.” Believe it or not, these words can add a great amount of fluff to your resume and slow down the reader.

For example, the use of helping verbs makes this phrase too wordy: “Managed a team of sales associates in order to help them achieve quarterly goals.” Instead, you can tighten up the phrase like this: “Managed sales team to help accomplish quarterly goals.” (If you can include the specific goal numbers, even better!)

Watch for vagueness. 

Another common issue job seekers face when writing their resumes is vagueness. Although it’s difficult to write about your experience, you must be very precise when explaining what your accomplished during each job or internship.

For example, if you’re writing a description for a clerical position and said something like “I assisted with paperwork,” this doesn’t tell the hiring manager anything about what you did or accomplished at that job. Instead, you could write “Assisted with clerical duties including database entry, paperwork filing, and answering phones.” This gives the hiring manager a more detailed description of what you performed during your last job.

Read your resume out loud. 

The best way to ensure your resume is clear and concise is to proofread it aloud. This will help you catch and grammar or spelling errors, as well as pay attention to phrasing. Your resume should flow together and be easily read. If you find yourself stumbling over a part of your resume, go back and figure out how you can reword it to make it more concise.

Writing a concise resume takes a lot of practice and patience. However, if you master these tips and you’re diligent during the editing process, you’ll write a resume that will definitely stand out to employers.

What tips do you have for writing a concise resume? 

Olivia Adams

Brand Manager at Come Recommended
Olivia Adams is the Brand Manager at Come Recommended. She is a graduate of Ferris State University with a B.S. in public relations. Olivia has experience in content marketing, writing, social media, branding, and public relations.