How to Cut Down Your Resume without Compromising Content

By Shannan Buckley

The longer your resume, the less of it people will actually read. Our rule of thumb is that early-career professionals should have a one-page resume, while more senior professionals should limit themselves to two. If your resume is three or more pages, there are many things you can do to save space without deleting all your bullet points. Here are a few ideas to quickly get your resume down to two pages or less.

  1. Narrow margins. Go to Page layout, select Margins, and then select Narrow. This will give you a lot more space to work with, but your resume will still print cleanly.
  2. Lighter weight font. Switching from Times New Roman to Garamond can save you a couple lines without compromising legibility. In fact, a fuller resume will be easier on the eyes in Garamond because the lines are thinner.
  3. Add more info to each line. Stacking firm, title, city and date on top of one another for each job will add a lot of extra lines. Try putting two or more types of information on each line
  4. Avoid accidental “paragraph” spacing between lines. The default setting in Word adds extra spacing between lines. Remove these settings! If you are starting a resume from scratch, change the style from the default “Normal” setting to “No Spacing.” If you already have a draft completed, highlight your whole resume, right click, and select paragraph. Set the spacing before and after paragraphs to zero, and the line spacing to single. You can always go back later and strategically add spaces to improve appearance.
  5. Reduce font size for blank lines. For example, if your resume is in 11-point font, you can make the lines in between jobs 6-point font. Just be sure to do this consistently!
  6. Avoid hanging feet. Does one of your bullets swing onto an extra line by only one or two words? Figure out exactly how many characters you need to delete. Can you cut a word? Rephrase? Use acronym? If not, break out the thesaurus and find shorter synonyms!
  7. Move the margins for bullets back. Decreasing the indentation can really shorten your resume. Just make sure you do so for every single bunch of bullets. You don’t want to look sloppy from inconsistent indentation!
  8. Cut down irrelevant jobs. There may be some jobs on your resume that you are primarily including to show that you have been consistently employed. Keep the job information, but delete the bullets.
  9. Delete your interests section. You are not going to get your dream job because you like yoga and cheese tasting, so take this section off your resume! Save your resume real estate for information on your skills, education and relevant work experience.
  10. Don’t go TOO crazy. Cutting down the number of pages is important, but you don’t want to end up with a page completely awash in black ink. Make sure there is sufficient space between sections and that your overall product is pleasing to the eye.

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