When you think about it, your resume is really pretty precious. With the exception of your LinkedIn profile, it may well be the only piece of personal marketing collateral you have, and it is unquestionably the most important. In the span of one, maybe two pages, you have to sell yourself to a potential employer—not necessarily enough to get hired, but at least enough to land an interview.
As such, every word, every line, every inch of that resume is vital. It’s critical not to waste a bit of it. That doesn’t mean you should cram as much verbiage onto your resume as possible. On the contrary, maintaining a balance of words and white space is essential for aesthetics and for readability.
And for the words you do include on your resume, it’s important to make each one count. Write with precision and economy, using only words that convey specific action and value. And whatever you do, don’t waste precious space on words that are redundant.
A Resume By Any Other Name
What do we mean by words that are redundant? Basically, we mean words that go without saying. You shouldn’t waste precious resume space on things that will be patently obvious to your resume’s reader.
Example: Studies show that an alarmingly high number of resumes actually include the word resume at the top—or some variation, like C.V. But shouldn’t this be pretty self-evident? Is there any chance your resume will be confused for another type of document? Including this label adds zero value to your resume, and only serves to eat up a valuable line of text.
Resisting the Passive
Here are a couple of other phrases that we recommend excising from your resume: Responsible for and Duties include.
Why? Because if you’re doing your job properly—if you’re writing a resume that speaks directly and vividly to the value you bring to your employer—then these words shouldn’t be necessary. You should be using active words—strong, powerful verbs—to show what you do and what you have accomplished.
In short: Including a dinky little list of your responsibilities should be unnecessary.
Check the References
One more phrase that’s redundant and unhelpful: References available upon request.
Trust us, the potential employer knows that you are serious about your job search and are therefore willing to supply references. If you’re asked for references, you’re not going to say no. So listing it on your resume is—again—a waste of valuable space.
Make wise use of the space you have, then—and don’t give any of it up to words that go without saying. For more insights, please contact Grammar Chic, Inc. today at 803-831-7444, or www.grammarchic.net.
Amanda E. Clark founded Grammar Chic in 2008. She is a graduate of Eastern Michigan University and holds degrees in Journalism, Political Science, and English. She launched Grammar Chic after freelancing for several years while simultaneously leading marketing and advertising initiatives for several Fortune 500 companies.