Career Advice  

Top 4 Tips on Writing Tight Résumés

Top 4 Tips on Writing Tight Résumés A recent Microsoft survey concluded that “the average attention span had fallen to eight seconds, down from 12 in the year 2000.”* In this age of diminished attention spans, recruiters and hiring managers typically spend just a few seconds on a résumé before deciding whether to keep reading or toss it. Therefore, it’s critical for your résumé to showcase your unique qualifications as quickly and concisely as possible.

Below, we unlock the top four secrets to writing lean and tight résumés to meet the demand for brevity.

1. Remove generic language, such as successful, track record, accomplished, etc. Instead, use quantifiable metrics and other measurable specifics to show (rather than tell) results and differentiate yourself from the competition. 

No: “Successfully trained and developed future organizational leaders.”
Yes: “Developed 10 team members promoted into leadership roles.”

2. Reduce your use of prepositional phrases, including of, through, by, to, and in, to create tighter, clearer, and more active sentences.

No: “Drove significant improvement of customer satisfaction scores.”
Yes: “Improved customer satisfaction scores by 56%.”

3. Ditch the passive voice for action-packed verbiage. While use of the passive voice distances you from your own actions, the active voice packs a punch and generates greater impact. 

No: “Made certain financial controls were in place while streamlining processes, which led to $10K in annual savings.”
Yes: “Enhanced financial controls and streamlined processes, saving $10K annually.”

4. Be specific and meaningful when detailing job descriptions, focusing on key highlights and accomplishments. 

No: “Responsible for management of a team comprised of inside sales reps.”
Yes: “Single-handedly managed a team of 25 inside sales reps.”

*Bonus Tip: Declutter your résumé by sharpening its focus based on your job objective or by creating more than one version if you have multiple target jobs.

By using brief, clear sentences, adding metrics, and avoiding passive language, you can drastically improve your résumé and maximize your job search. Keep. It. Short!

*”The Eight-Second Attention Span,” The New York Times


Contribution by Jennifer Victorian

Jennifer is a Resume Writer/Trainer at IMPACT Group with expertise in operations planning, training, and marketing/communications. She holds a Master of Education in Higher Education Administration. Connect with Jennifer on LinkedIn today!

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