As your career grows, there are things you should remove from your resume immediately.
There are professionals who want to keep everything, going with the mindset that “more is better.” These folks avoid logic and oftentimes provide (what they think are) solid reasons on why they must keep “this, that, or the other” in their resumes.
I’m here to tell you that there are times when removing old jobs, internships, and so on, become an absolute necessity.
The best strategy is to write your resume as “lean and mean” as possible.
Here’s a typical conversation with a job seeker who won’t let things go:
Resume Writer: I noticed you have some old and irrelevant jobs in your resume, Sally. A resume generally covers about a 10-year timeline … and, how long your resume should be … experts say around two pages. Currently, your resume weighs in at four pages.
Jobseeker: I’m okay with that. Keeping positions from the 1980s and 1990s help show hiring managers my career progression. I know you’re trying to help, but please let’s keep those old positions in my resume.
Then, a few weeks later, the conversation goes something like this:
Jobseeker: My resume isn’t getting attention. Why?
Resume Writer: Knowing what you know now, are you willing to revisit doing the nip/tuck I originally recommended?
Jobseeker: So you’re saying that I shouldn’t show career progression in my resume and that I should simply reflect my management positions, and avoid showing hiring managers where I came from, how I landed where I am now?
Resume Writer: Keeping those very old positions aren’t helping. Just getting a recruiter or hiring manager to SKIM a two-page resume is a huge challenge these days. Presenting them with a four-page resume can set you up for failure.
Not removing old and irrelevant career details from your resume can often work against you because your resume should be more about quality and less about quantity.
I’ve seen professionals who’ve needed to get a degree from the “School of Hard Knocks,” before they’re open to solid resume writing advice, even from a 20-year resume writer like me.
Want to avoid being a resume hoarder? Here are 5 ways to rid yourself of excess within your resume:
1. Let those positions go.
What should hit the cutting-room floor?
Start by examining and chopping out old, irrelevant, and short-term positions when feasible. Don’t keep positions because they are important to you. Keep them because they are important to who will read your resume and consider you for future employment. At this point, it’s probably safe to say positions from the 1970s, 1980s, and yes, the 1990s should be banished from your resume.
2. Don’t “vomit” an intro/objective into your resume.
Your resume’s intro SHOULD NOT be a compilation of everything you’ve eaten (err, done).
Focus only on what’s important to your career move NOW – include no more, no less.
Specifically, don’t include software and soft skills within your intro statement.
If you’re a manager, don’t include support-level responsibilities – or when absolutely necessary, broad-stroke (minimal specifics) those job responsibilities.
3. Recognize that you have transitioned from having a job to having a career – and rewrite your resume accordingly.
Jobseekers should write about their best works; their best assets; their best skill sets; their best results.
Your resume should be the best representation of your career, so stop thinking of your resume as a chronological list of your job roles.
4. Do you remember that?
Training that you attended years and years ago are equivalent to wearing an old brown suit to an interview.
Big, big turn-off!
There comes a time when you must acquire fresh training so your skills become outdated and you are unable to compete.
5. Inactive memberships, lapsed executive board participation, and love of dogs.
You might be wondering, “Well, the hiring manager may call me for an interview because she’s a dog lover too?”
But couldn’t that “bite” you too?
Maybe the hiring manager was once bitten by a dog?
Maybe she’s a cat-loving hiring manager?
Don’t presume that because you were once a member of XYZ industry organization or served as a board member of the local Humane Society that you’re going to get any preferential treatment.
So, here’s one last nugget of advice:
Critique every millimeter of your resume to avoid being a resume hoarder. Strategically map every word, every fragment, and every sentence. Talk the language of the hiring company to get a better return-on-investment (ROI).
Do you need more help with improving your resume?
If so, be sure to check out this free download containing my advanced resume writing techniques on how to get you more interviews.