If you have spent any time working on your résumé and reading articles on how to make it effective, you have probably come across the advice to keep it clear, concise and as short as possible. That is great guidance, especially as recruiters and everyone else are so busy and have little time to spend screening any individual document and candidate. It has to deliver early to get attention. But too much editing and too little detail can hurt.
Last week I worked with a client for whom I was writing two résumés, a short version for a potential career change, and a longer, more detailed document for use in her existing career. The longer résumé was terrific. It had the right amount of information, shared her important accomplishments, and simply told her story well. The other shorter résumé was the problem.
This client was getting some advice from an internal advocate who kept challenging her to make it more and more brief. At one point, though, too many details that added context to this client’s excellent 15 year career history that has been full of achievement were at risk. We had to have a conversation that focused on this question: “If you didn’t know you, would eliminating these details hurt or help the reader understand you, your accomplishments and the unique value you offer?” She got my point and the potential edits were avoided.
This is not just a matter of opinion, though. Applicant tracking software (ATS) needs content to analyze, keywords in context, and if it isn’t there it can hurt a candidate’s chances of being considered by a human. The ATS package simply will not present you as a viable candidate.
Use the space you need to tell your story. Recruiters and the ATS software they use will reward your effort and decision.