How to Prune Your Resume to the Bare Essentials

A very wise former boss once said, “Never put anything on your resume that you don’t want to do again.” That’s a good start, but how do you add essential experience on to your CV without using 8 pt. font or overflowing to a second page?

If your sitting in your Davis apartment, banging your head against your keyboard trying to answer this question, has some great advice for you.

Rule #1: Tell a Story

Focus on the person coming across in your resume. If you want to be “the social media guru,” anything that doesn’t at least tangentially relate to social media should be de-prioritized. If you want to come across as “the academic research all-star,” by all means put your educational experience on top, throw in your GPA, and get in-depth about your awards and publications. Feel free to leave off your real estate experience.

Rule #2: Focus on the Recent (or Relevant)

If there’s a choice between including one more college internship or going into more detail about your current role, always choose the latter. Your goal is to make room for that position byeliminating waste in other parts of your resume.

Rule #3: Consolidate Your Education

If your education isn’t the most impressive part of your resume, it isn’t 100% relevant to the position you’re applying for, or if you’re not going for an academic role, I’m willing to bet that you could shorten it. All you really need is your college and degree

Rule #4: Cut the Quirky

Particularly if you want work at the kind of place where everyone sits on yoga balls and takes team-building canoe trips (I want to work there, too), you might think that you should list your hobbies on your resume or go into detail about the fact that you were voted the seventh best vegetarian chef in your city. 

This will come across better in an interview, or maybe even in a cover letter. Don’t use the precious space on your resume. Definitely list languages you speak, technical skills you have, or security clearances you’ve obtained, but if your yoga certification doesn’t pertain to the job you’re applying for and you’re running out of space—get ’er outta there.