Less Is More

I used to be as guilty as anyone of writing my resume as if a prospective employer needed to know absolutely everything I’d ever done in my career. Heaven forbid that I left something out!

But then I became a hiring employer, and also a human resources professional, responsible for sorting through the mass of resumes received in response to a job listing. You can bet that my perspective on the “leave nothing out” resume changed.

Now, when I discuss with clients what I consider the salient points of a resume, I stress putting aside egos and pride of authorship in order to end up with a clear, clean, concise, readable and appealing document that will not only entice someone with hiring capacity but will cause them to call you for an interview.

This “less is more” theory holds for format as well as content. Stay away from fancy fonts and graphics – not only can they detract from the readability of your resume, but they can also translate badly on resumes that are sent electronically.

With resume content, put some serious thought into what you want to feature about your skills/abilities/experience/accomplishments, and how you can best do that. Keep in mind that white space is easy on the eye, and will draw your reader down the page.

I recognize, however, that some resumes and vitae curricula must, by necessity, be longer than 1-2 pages. In these cases, position your most important selling points first, and go down from there. Keep in mind what YOUR goals are, and how your resume can help you achieve them. For career changers, the same old job listing will not work – you need to focus on transferable skills and experience relevant to your new career direction.

Writing a good resume takes time, patience, creativity, and a healthy dose of self-esteem. This is the time to brag about yourself and your accomplishments, while not embellishing the truth. But remember: Less IS More.


This article was originally published in Dick Wray Associates e-newsletter.