Why Short and Sharp Resumes are the best

Your resume is arguably the most important document of your career.

Strangely though, for all the effort put into writing one, hiring managers spend very little time (sometimes no more than a few seconds) reading each resume. In some cases, it may even be screened and removed by a recruitment software algorithm before a hiring manager knows you exist.

Harsh, yes. But don’t be disheartened, instead, use this information wisely. Knowing this means you can use it to your advantage and create a short & sharp resume that will ensure you get noticed.

Performance Education’s top tips to build a compelling resume:

Simply, resumes should be easy to read – focus on using clear, concise copy and cut back on any information that isn’t relevant.

Some candidates struggle with fitting their experience onto 1-2 pages; or for new graduates – filling a resume with limited work experience. Remember quality over quantity matters in a resume. Hiring managers and recruiters often have dozens of applications to review and briefly glance through the pile. Your resume should be powerful but brief – ultimately it should be easy for the hiring manager to quickly understand how your experience and skills align with their job vacancy.

The Big 3

Hiring managers scan for three things on a candidate’s resume – What have you done? Why did you do it? And what were your achievements? Make sure you cover this off.

Keep it short and sharp

A short, sharp professional summary is key to capturing the hiring manager’s attention and encouraging them to keep reading. A summary is a compelling depiction of your personality, skills and experiences. Sentences should not exceed 20 words and exclude the use of first-person pronouns (I, me, my).

Use strong action words

Highlight skills you’ve developed in each role. Start each bullet point with verbs that demonstrate your skills in action. A few action verbs that stick out to employers include: developed, designed, created, implemented, acquired and delivered.

Prove your skills with achievements

Your resume should detail experiences which highlight using your skills to deliver outcomes in your roles. Give real-life examples of your achievements, like “Implemented a new Learning Management System and collaborated with cross-functional teams to train system users.”

Use numbers

Employers and hiring managers love numbers/statistics. Using statements like “Increased company’s Instagram following by 20 percent over six months” to show you understand the importance of using performance metrics and how it impacts a business.

Close the gaps

Employment gaps of a year or more can be red flags for hiring managers. If you have not worked in that time, use real life examples of personal development activities you may have completed to keep your skills and knowledge up to date. Examples such as attending university or training courses, volunteering and even carer commitments/supporting family members help close the gap and explain why you have been out of the workforce.

What if I am a new Graduate with limited work experience?

When you’re entering the job market for the first time and creating a resume with limited work experience, you’ll want to highlight experiences that helped you develop your professional skill set. Focus on your soft skills and your education/qualifications. Here are a few examples of experiences you may want to include on your first resume:

  • University projects and coursework you’ve completed that’s relevant to the job.
  • Internships
  • Volunteer Work
  • Extracurricular activities such as societies and clubs at university or college

Remember, the goal of your resume is to capture the reader’s attention in the shortest amount of time possible. If the reader thinks you are a suitable candidate for the role, your resume will have achieved its purpose – an offer to attend an interview. Good luck!


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