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Resume Summary: Beat the Career Stack


Don't let your 35 years of jobs pile up in a 10-page resume. (frozenchipmunk, CC3.0)

How do you compile 35 years working in an industry into a single document? The common practice is to simply stack your jobs one atop the other – dating back to you first job search, each successive resume likely just puts a new job in the top spot and pushes the others down. The result can be a very long document.

TheLadders’ resume critiquers and resume writers follow the rule that no resume should exceed three page, but many, if not most resumes submitted to to them tip the scales. They regularly report job seekers who hand them resumes in excess of ten pages and the record reported by a resume critiquer at TheLadders is 38 pages submitted by a jobseeker who got his first job in the mid-1960s.

But how do you avoid the heavy pile of paper when you’re trying express a track record of promotions, the depth of your experience and the responsibilities and accomplishments under your belt? You say it in a summary, said Donald Burns, a certified professional resume writer who works with TheLadders.

Jonathan,” a client of Burns’, who asked not to be identified, had a four-page resume, not too terrible compared to the 30+ set, but it was too much for his specific case, Burns said. “Leslie,” a Wall Street executive, who asked that her name not be used, also a client of Burns’ had a three-pager. Still too much for her Burns said.

For each, Burns edited for impact and used a summary to capture not what they did, but what they can do for a new employer. He also recommends using details only on your most recent and relevant jobs. In other words, no one cares that you received four commendations as an intern 22 years ago.

(Stack by frozenchipmunk, CC3.0)

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One comment for “Resume Summary: Beat the Career Stack”

  1. [...] Resume Summary: Beat the Career Stack [...]

    Posted by Resume Metrics: Make It Count | | June 22, 2009, 7:05 pm

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