Everything you include in your resume has one purpose — to position you for the role. You need to think strategically when deciding what to include. Is it relevant to the hiring company’s needs? Does it bolster your application?

Some people give up and just include everything, winding up with a resume that is 3,4 or even 5 pages long. The problem of course, is that no-one will read all that information, so even the most salient points will be lost.

In all but the most extreme cases, your resume should be no more than 2 pages long and this means you do have to make hard choices.

Put your reader first

Once you know what the company is looking for, it’s much easier to decide what to include or leave out. resume with impact are those which tie in what you offer to what the company requires. Your offer can encompass different aspects of your background — achievements, skills, employment history, and so on — but focus it on the hirer’s needs by pruning out the less relevant parts of your background.

Work out what to highlight

Company and sector research and the wording of the job ad should help you identify what the company wants from an ideal candidate. Address these key requirements in prominent places in your resume — in your professional profile/career summary and in the skills and work experience sections.

Deciding what to leave off

Keep an eye on the length of your resume. If it goes beyond two pages, it’s probably too long. Don’t make your resume look cramped by squeezing in information, instead decide what’s relevant and edit or merge the rest.

The following information can almost always be deleted:

Interests and hobbies. If you’ve achieved something noteworthy or relevant pursuing an interest, slot it in somewhere else in your resume or put it in your covering letter.

“No-no” details such as date of birth, marital status, religion.

Superfluous information such as driving licence, references, school grades.

Irrelevant information that blurs the focus of your resume, such as very old or temporary jobs.

Remove negative information

You don’t have to explain why you left previous jobs or mention health problems. Remember that anything you include may be discussed at interview, so consider which jobs you can safely leave off — perhaps those you hated or where you didn’t get on with the boss.

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