How to Save Room on Your Resume (Part 2 of 5)

As a professional resume writer, one of the most common questions I get asked is how to shorten a resume to one page without losing critical information. This question does not only come from experienced professionals (who have to fit a lot of work experience in a short amount of space), but also from students and young professionals.

Luckily, there are a number of ways to condense a resume without sacrificing quality. The first tip of the series explained how to decrease the number of sections on your resume. Check out this week’s tip below, and be sure to stay tuned for the next three pointers!

Tip #2: Reduce Quantity of Bullets

Most people think that each experience on the resume deserves a set amount of bullets (example: 4 bullets for each experience). This strategy puts equal weight on each and every experience. It also makes the resume excessively long winded. If you have had two college internships and two full time jobs, that’s already 16 bullets on your resume (just for the work experience section).

In fact, the number of bullets should correspond to how relevant the experience is with the intended use of the resume, and there is no rule for consistency. You can reduce the amount of bullets in two ways.

  1. Pick the experiences that are most relevant and have more bullets in those sections as opposed to others. This will immediately draw the reader’s attention to the information you want to highlight and away from less relevant experiences.
  2. Identify where you have already shown a certain skill set (example: presentation skills, research skills, quantitative analysis) and make sure that you are not repeating yourself throughout the resume. Do you really need five separate examples of managing people on a team? Why not cut three of these out, leaving two examples for management and enough space for a bullet about presenting to the Board of Directors. This will both diversify the skills you show on your resume and cut out two extra bullets.

Below, you can see how varying the amount of achievement bullets based on relevance to the intended job can save valuable space on the resume. In addition, it has the added benefit of focusing the reader’s attention on a particular experience that captures the most significant achievements you have had.

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