A careers expert shares the secrets to a perfect resume.

Video by Mamamia

Q: I wanted to know more about ways to make an impact from recruiters who take a one look at your resume and decide to call you for an interview. Also there are numerous forums on explaining why a resume should be one page.

How can you put a career worth of achievements in 1 page and still get a call?


Gayle Laakmann McDowell, Author of Cracking the Coding Interview, Tech Career, PM Interview.

You don’t put your whole career on one page. You put just the top one-page’s worth on one page.

Reducing a resume to one page helps many candidates look stronger, not weaker.

Recruiters are not impressed that you had enough content to make a three-page resume (anyone can do that). Focusing on the best stuff gives a better impression, since recruiters can’t read everything.

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Suppose Bob picks up your three-page resume and Mary gets your one page resume. Both spend about twenty seconds skimming your resume, which is about how long it takes to skim one page’s worth. Who is left with a better impression of you? Mary. The average content that Mary read was better than the average content that Bob read. About two thirds of the stuff that Bob read wasn’t even good enough to fit on the one pager.

Put another way: average(top 10% of set) > average(top 50% of set).

When creating a resume, think very carefully about what value each line brings.

Every line has an opportunity cost. For example, your experience on the debating team might be useful to show public speaking skills. But if you’ve also been teaching a class at university and have won an award for best undergraduate TA, the debate team experience might not add as much.

So it’s not just about showcasing your best accomplishments. It’s about understanding what the point of every line is.

Image: iStock.

You'll need to learn to let go.

One reason that a lot of candidates struggle with short resumes is that it's painful to delete something from their resume.

You worked hard to win that award freshman year and it was impressive then. Now -- poof! -- it's like it never even happened. At least that's the way it feels when you delete it from your resume.

Yep. I've been there. But, well, deal with it. You need to cut the old to make room for the new.

This post originally appeared on Quora. It has been republished here with full permission.

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