How is it that every edit to a résumé feels like pulling teeth? Sometimes it seems like this document is all that’s standing between you and your dream job, which only ups the ante. Ditch the stress and think of your résumé as your “best of” work history.
Applying for jobs is a numbers game, but every potential employer reading your résumé wants to believe you have eyes only for them. Customize your résumé as needed for every application. Let each job posting be your guide in deciding what to include, play up, and omit from your résumé, such as your experience working with the specific programs their team uses, or your shared passion for the company’s specialized subject matter. If you’re open to several different kinds of jobs, you can even create a template for each one.
The key difference between a job description and a résumé is actualized potential. Your résumé needs to demonstrate what you accomplished. Using the job description for your current job (or past roles) as a guide, try to quantify your achievements, whether you’ve recruited scores of hard-to-find translators, launched an email campaign with an impressive conversion rate, or coordinated projects requiring translation into 20+ languages.
Especially at the beginning of your career, it’s tempting to want to bulk up your résumé by including every single job you’ve ever held. But the week you housesat for your cousin’s neighbor’s mother-in-law doesn’t boost your credibility, and it takes away space that could be better used for more relevant information. Cut out short-term gigs from long ago in favor of participation in professional groups; academic achievements; and pertinent volunteer work, interests, and hobbies.
When it comes to résumés, sometimes less is more. Recent grads should keep their résumés to one page, while mid-career professionals can use up to two pages, if truly necessary. These self-imposed limits will help you keep the very best information on your résumé while tossing any filler. Résumés for industry veterans should discuss work experience from the past 10 to 15 years, not just for brevity, but also for relevance, as few hiring managers care about a C-suite candidate’s first job out of college.