“Ask Patra!” Column … Edition #006

Posted by Patra Frame

Each week, Patra Frame, a frequent presenter at the Cleared Job Fairs will answer a job seekers question. These are questions that are either asked at the Cleared Job Fairs or sent into Patra. The questions can range from job searching, interviewing, or career strategy.

This week’s question:

Q: I have a lot of experience and my resume shows it.  Some recruiters tell me it is too long but I cannot cut it down without losing important information.  What do I do?

A: Resumes tend to come in some ‘standard sizes.’ Although there are a few folks whose work is so important that they can ignore the common practice, you would be well served by keeping yours to no more than two pages in print (one page is fine for less than 10 years experience.) Here are some helpful tips to consider as you work on keeping your resume to two pages:

First, remember a resume is a way to get attention.
It is not your biography. It is an advertisement. It is designed to demonstrate a reason to actually contact you to learn more. And most employers will tell you that too many resumes are not focused on what the person offers in the context of the specific job the person wants. Often resumes are just ‘data dumps’ of every job and its responsibilities.

The ‘golden area’ of your resume is the 3 inches right under your name and contact information.
If the information there is relevant to the position and it demonstrates the value you create, the rest of the resume will get looked at. And your chance of being contacted goes up substantially. But if you waste this space with the wrong information or a generic objective or info that is not directly related, your chances go down even more substantially.

Restart your resume drafting.
Focus! Make every word relevant. Use keywords in the right context for the work you want. Show your achievements. Dump out all information that does not direct support your value. Cut down on older jobs – eliminate those more than 15 years old. Don’t waste space on education or training that is not needed now. Skip old professional associations or awards or recognition. Keep only those which will help you make your case right now. If your resume is longer than normal, many employers will assume you are not able to prioritize effectively or do not understand standard business protocol — neither is an impression you want to leave!

Ask several folks you know to help you cut your resume further.
It is always easier to cut someone else’s resume than to do it for oneself. Ask them to be sure each bullet is clear and understandable at the same time.

Use an online resume on your own web site or on social networking sites, such as LinkedIn, to demonstrate other views of your history if you want to. But keep the primary resumes you send and give out within the normal length with plenty of white space for ease of reading.

All in all, think of the ads you remember – and make your resume as succinct and enticing as you can.

About Patra Frame

Patricia Frame is an experienced human resources consultant and executive. She has managed development of HR and administrative functions, organization development, employment, process restructuring for productivity, compensation, training, and the human resources aspects of mergers, acquisitions and divestitures. For more information, please visit

This entry was posted on Thursday, July 16, 2009 2:39 pm

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