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How to make a resume fit on one page
The secret of how to make a resume – a really good one – is gold dust for jobseekers, at a time when it’s common for employers to expect hundreds of applicants for a single position.
Sadly, there is no perfect formula for getting it right, as best practice can vary massively from job to job – and even then employers may have different processes for sifting through the application pile.
Making your resume, then, is about successfully selling yourself to secure an interview, and nothing more.
Those who know how to make a resume well will know that what you leave out is just as important as what you include. Employers will likely spend 30 seconds or less looking at each application, so your best bet is to pack everything onto one page and make sure every word counts.
With those things in mind, here’s how to make a resume on one page in six simple steps.
1. Reduce the font size
First and foremost, standard font sizes don’t apply to your resume. Just as you might have increased your font size to fill pages when writing a school essay – the opposite applies here. While size 12 is used for most written documents, you can get away with size 10 on your resume if it means you can pack in those few crucial lines of experience.
2. Play with the margins
Similar to your font size, the margins present a good opportunity to create space where there appears to be none. Most word processing tools are set up with unnecessarily large margin widths, but you can reduce these down to an inch or even 0.5 inches in extreme cases. The trick here is to make sure that all the margins are equal so that your resume appears to be centred in the page – that way you can include lots of text while keeping a visual style.
3. Revise your objective
If used correctly, including an objective at the top of your resume can be a good way of separating yourself from the mass of applications. Your objective should be snappy and specific, detailing why you’re interested in the particular position and why your current skills make you a suitable candidate. If your objective is general or wishy-washy it may actually count against you – so remove it. It’s implied in applying for a job that you’re looking for a new challenge and that you want to apply your existing skills, so don’t waste precious space telling the employer.
4. Tailor your resume to each job
If you’re applying for a range of different positions requiring a range of different skills, it makes no sense to send over the same resume. Prioritise the information that is suitable for the specific position, and remove any irrelevant work experience that is there just for the sake of it. Similarly, if you find yourself repeating skills over and over again, there’s probably no need. If you’ve held three admin positions, for instance, then there’s no need to say you have filing experience three times – find something new to say about each job to shhighlight the full range of your experiences.
5. Identify your selling points
You should decide what your selling points are well before sending off your resume and embed them throughout. Make sure they’re relevant to the position you’re applying for, and keep them nice and high on the page so your prospective employer won’t miss them. Remember, the chances are that your resume is only going to be skim-read initially, so give the person reading a good reason to give it their full attention.
6. Keep contact info clear but succinct
Congratulations, you’ve caught the eye of your prospective employer, but stand zero chance of getting the job without including your contact details. For this reason they should be marked highly at the top of the page, but having said that, they’re not a selling point so shouldn’t take up too much space. Try and get your address onto one line of the document and include your phone number and e-mail address together on another.