As an entry-level job seeker, you only get one page to make your case.
Simply put, all entry-level professionals should have a one-page resume. For example, when you've just graduated college, there probably won't be much to put on your resume. Even if your coursework and relevant experience is extensive, you still only want a one-page resume because recruiters will see two pages or more as a “fluffed” resume, increasing your chances of being passed over. The same goes for all entry-level job seekers.
So, how do you cram all the information you need in your resume onto one page? What should you include? What can you remove? Below are eight techniques to help you achieve a one-page resume that will help you keep to the page limit and still wow a recruiter.
Highlight only internships and relevant work experience
While it's great to show you've had a job since you were 16 and can commit to a company, unless it's relevant, it's not necessary. Keep the focus on relevant work experience and any internships you may have held recently or while in college. You can still show you had previous jobs and how long you were with those companies in an “additional experience” line under your highlighted positions. This will show you have longevity and loyalty without taking up valuable space.
Related: Turn an Internship Into Your First Full-Time Job
Combine similar experience under one position
"Similar experience" could be things like several work-study positions in different offices or cashier work at more than one store. The duties you completed are going to be nearly the same, so combining the roles on your resume is the most efficient and effective way to save space. You can showcase achievements for each position separately in bullets below the daily functions.
Remove short positions
Unless the short position you held is an internship, remove it. Positions held for a short time can communicate that you are a job hopper who can't commit and that you won't stay at a role long term. Highlighting short positions can be a screen-out factor, so don't do it.
Include only necessary skills in descriptions
Necessary skills are the qualities a company is looking for in a candidate; they are usually listed in the position description. For example, if you are applying for an entry-level sales position and have past experience as a gas-station clerk, you will want to highlight your customer service, sales, product support, and communications skills. You probably also cleaned the facility, stocked supplies, and managed inventory, but those are not necessary skills for a sales position, so they can be removed.
Combine achievements where appropriate
Many achievements can be combined and shortened using bullet points. You don't want to tell the whole story of how you achieved it — recruiters want to know what you've done. If they have questions, they'll ask about the how during an interview.
For example, if you increased sales by 15 percent by building relationships and improving satisfaction, you can reduce this to one bullet that says “Increased sales by 15% and improved overall customer satisfaction.” You can go into detail during an interview about how you built and leveraged relationships to increase both simultaneously.
The summaries of previous positions are a common aspect of the resume that gets fluffed. You want to keep your summaries as short as you can while showing what you can do. Don't get too into detail here — simply list your areas of expertise and the skills you have.
Do not fluff achievements either! Recruiters will know and it will not leave a good impression.
Leave off unnecessary information
The information recruiters are not interested in can take up valuable space. If you are about to or have graduated college, high school information is no longer relevant. It's assumed you graduated high school since you were able to get into college, so leave off the clubs, graduation date, sports, and other achievements from your youth.
Also, it's no longer standard to put “References available upon request” on your resume. Most applications ask for references before you even submit, so recruiters will already have the information. Plus, everyone knows a reference check is a part of the process, so including this line is unnecessary.
Reformat font size and spacing
Changing margins can give you so much additional space! You can go as low as 0.5 inches on all sides — just not any smaller. After you have everything you need on the document, start adjusting your margins. When you achieve your one-page resume, leave the margins as they are. You want the page to look full and appropriately spaced.
If you change the margins to the smallest size and still need help, reduce the font by point five until you get to one page. It's not recommended to go below 10-point font on a resume, however, because any smaller is too difficult to read.
Getting your resume to fit on one page may seem like a daunting task, but when you take the above tips and techniques and apply them, you'll find it's easier than expected. Remember to start with relevant information and have your job goal in mind at all times. This will help you focus your skills and showcase how great a fit you'll be for that dream job!
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How to Write an Entry-Level Resume for Your First Post-College Job