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Career Coach

When More Is Less

Published February 15, 2012 8:13 AM by Renee Dahring
When it comes to resumes, more is less -- less effectiveness that is.

I have noticed that when it comes to creating a resume, most people just can't seem to say enough about themselves. They continue to add more and more content. The vast majority of resumes that I review are far too long and much too wordy. I'm not entirely sure why this happens. Maybe it's a carryover from their college days, when long and tedious papers resulted in a better grade. Or maybe it is a habit developed from doing patient charting and the writer feels compelled to document every little thing for the sake of accuracy. At any rate, the result is a resume that is long in length but short on truly useful information.

One of the toughest jobs I have is to convince job seekers to trim down their resumes. In fact, when I suggest eliminating certain entries, I can actually see their anxiety rise. I sometimes feel like that therapist on the TV show "Hoarders," who has to convince people that it really is OK to let go of that nonfunctioning item they are so dead set on keeping.

If your resume is more than 1 to 2 pages, it's time we talked. Maybe I can convince you to downsize. Remember, most resumes are reviewed in less than 30 seconds. During that first quick look hiring managers need to see what I call the "Big 3."

  1. Do you meet the educational requirements?
  2. Do you possess the correct certification?
  3. Do you have the skills necessary to meet the job requirements?

If they can see all 3 of those points on the first page of your resume, it increases the likelihood that they will take a second look. Not so much if this information is buried on page 3 or 4 ...

Always keep in mind that the function and purpose of the resume is to get you an interview. I can't stress enough that no matter how chock full of words your resume may be, your resume alone is not enough to get you the job. Try to think of your resume as a marketing tool, not unlike a commercial. The information doesn't have to be comprehensive, it only has to be relevant.

If you choose your words wisely, you can convey a great deal of information in a small amount of space.

Looking for a template? Check and




Could you please post an example of a resume that reflects the comments and recommendations in your article?

Mary , FNP February 16, 2012 11:27 AM
Bozeman MT

As I'm applying to PA programs, we are asked to supply a CV. To me this means your life's work, I went back 15 yrs, when I started patient care. Was this too much? I understand a resume should be only relevant info, brief, and concise.  The same rules don't apply when you are asked to supply a curriculum vitae, right?

angela, physician assistant - prospective grad student, grad programs in michigan February 16, 2012 8:07 AM
detroit MI

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About this Blog

    Occupation: Nurse Practitioners and NP Recruiters
    Setting: correctional healthcare/career consulting/teaching
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