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Treat Your Resume Like Your Home. Downsize and Declutter to Land the Job

Downsizing your home can be daunting, especially if you've accumulated a lot of stuff over the years. But it's also an opportunity to declutter, organize, and streamline your space, making it more functional and enjoyable. The same is true of your resume – it's a chance to take stock of your career and pare it down to the most essential and relevant information.

Imagine your resume as a house. Like a house, it needs a clear structure and layout to be effective. Start by identifying the "rooms" or sections that are most important to include, such as your work experience, education, and skills. Then, consider what belongs in each of these rooms – just as you might decide to keep your kitchen appliances and furniture but get rid of the old VHS tapes and broken toys in the basement.

As you go through each section of your resume, leverage that downsizing mindset. Ask yourself what you would keep if you downsized your home. Would you keep every item of clothing you've ever owned, or just the ones that fit and are still in good condition? Would you keep every piece of furniture or just the ones that are comfortable and serve a specific purpose? The same principle applies to your resume – only include the most relevant and helpful information for your job search.

Like a downsizing project, decluttering your resume can be challenging and time-consuming. But it's worth it in the end – a streamlined and focused resume is more likely to catch hiring managers' attention and help you stand out in a crowded job market. Here are some tips for decluttering your resume and making it more streamlined and focused:

  • Start by identifying the most critical information to include. This content will undoubtedly include your job title, company names, dates of employment, and any relevant education and certifications. But don't worry about including every single job or responsibility you've ever held. Focus on the assignments from the past ten years that are most relevant to the position you are targeting in your search.

  • Use bullet points to organize your information. This formatting will make it easier for the reader to scan and absorb the information you share. Use action and success verbs to highlight your skills and achievements and reinforce your points with quantitative metrics where possible.

  • Leave out unnecessary information. There's no need to include your total years of experience, age, gender, or marital status on your resume. In most cases, you should also omit your home address – it's sufficient only to include your city and state.

  • Be selective about your extracurricular activities and interests. While it may be helpful to include, don't list everything you've ever done in this section. Choose a few items that are relevant to the position you're applying for or demonstrate a unique skill or quality.

  • Make generous use of white space on the resume, whether one or two pages. White space translates to improved readability and ease with which you can emphasize essential details.

By following these tips, you can create a focused, easy-to-read resume that showcases your fit for the position, value proposition, required qualifications, and achievements. So, take a deep breath and start decluttering your resume – you'll be glad you did.

Dan Troup is the author of the job search guidebook Selling You: The AdvantEdge Job Search Process™, available through multiple channels in Paperback and eBook formats. He is also the Managing Director of the AdvantEdge Careers coaching service. If you are interested in learning more about how a job search expert and certified career coach can assist you, please contact AdvantEdge Careers for a free initial consultation.


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