Strange that I come to ask the question and the top post was exactly in the opposite problem (not enough experience) - [url][/url]

The problem I have is too much experience, or more precisely too many jobs. The mathematics of putting it all on the page doesn't work. Your thoughts are welcome.

There are 62 lines with 10 point font.
2 lines header section
2 section headers (experience / education)
2 lines in education
I've had 9 positions in 22 years with durations from 7 months to 5 years.
Each job has between 2-4 lines of header and description.
There are a total of 10 line breaks between jobs or sections.

My total is 41 lines of description before I get to any bullets. End result, I have 21 bullets to spread out to 9 jobs or about 2.25 bullets per job. That doesn't cut it.

1) trim descriptions - good, I can probably get about 5 more lines out of it, but many descriptions are almost too short already.
2) cut jobs - not 100% desirable, but this will help too. Unfortunately, the more recent jobs are the shorter ones because of the instability I've seen over the past 3 years working in small companies, so this is limited. The recent jobs are also the most relevant to the work I want to do.

I've actually had to resort to a multi-page format and accept that things on the second page don't get read - but they support my longer experience which I highlight in the cover letter. Getting out of the one page format has been the best thing I have done. Trying to stay in it cost me content and I'm sure it also cost interviews. I still haven't found the right place, but I have a comfortable consulting job for the moment, so that helps with the finances while I get this figured out.

My long term solution is to get to a stable company where I can stay for a longer time period. But that's the future.


BJ_Marshall's picture
Licensee BadgeTraining Badge


You can most likely get away with fewer bullets for jobs that are farther in the past. This will give you more bullets to highlight work done in more recent jobs.

Have you thought about using the [url=]MT Resume Review Service[/url].


lazerus's picture

I have ended up dropping my first job off completely, and dropping or condensing bullet points on others.

Someone I work with the other day said he DISTINCTLY REMEMBERS my resume being multiple pages. I assured him it was one page. :lol:

asteriskrntt1's picture


You keep all your resume in a big document, 12 point font with everything. Call it something like...Career Management Document CMD.

Then for each job, you pick out of that CMD all the good things that highlight what make you the best candidate. You don't always have to include every contract position. Don't fear the gaps - they give you talking points when you can speak positively about yourself.


wendii's picture
Admin Role Badge


You should be able to fit all your experience onto one page.

Name and Contact details + a line space = 3 lines
Education = 2 lines + a line space = 3 lines
Each role needs a minimum of 4 lines: 1 line of admin, 1 line of responsibilities (which if your admin is short can be a line and half), 1 accomplishment and a space between it and the next role. = 36 lines

That's 41 lines total, giving you 21 lines left.

The weight of your resume needs to be on the most recent role or that closest to that sought. So the roles earliest in your career stay with only four lines, and those in the last 5-8 years share the majority of remaining 21 lines.

If you were a contractor and you worked through a single company, then treat those roles together, in the same way a consultant would.

Feb 09 - Mar 12: Consultant, XYZ company - Consultant to a number of clients. Managed up to 40 staff in up to 3 countries. Budget upto £4B.
*Marvellous accomplishment for client ABC
*Brilliant accomplishment for client PQR

The only legitimate reason for missing roles from your resume is that they were roles you had whilst you were in college and you graduated more than ten years ago.

I hope that helps.


bflynn's picture

Thank you everyone - I do maintain a CMD, which is about 4 pages at 12 point and 1.75 pages at 10 point.

Lately, I've been trying out three methods:
[list]- Two page resume
- Wendii's suggestion, bullets front loaded, but I'll reduce my descriptions to 2 lines max, 1 if I can
- cutting out earlier jobs (relabeling "Experience" to "Recent Experience", going back 10 years). [/list:u]
The verdict is still out as to which is still out as to which one is more effective, not enough data yet.


jhbchina's picture

Hi BFlynn,

After almost 30 years of working, I too have a hard time writing a one page resume, and I trust your math, you were always better with the details than me.

Regardless, what I do is only include the last 15 years of my employment history. When I apply for a position I make sure to match my experiences to their requirements in the cover letter, and those experiences are also listed on my resume. I suggest you read the book "Don't Send a Resume". I found it to be very helpful for marketing ones self to the hiring manager before sending the resume.

Go Rangers :lol:

US41's picture

I've been working 26 years. My resume only shows the last 7 years of my work experience on it, and the very last job (the earliest job) is one that is most relevant to the current position.

You don't need to put every job on your resume. If you were a contractor in IT, you might have a different job every six months.

Look at it from a manager's perspective: I don't care what you did 15 years ago. You are probably not even able to do that job any longer or even remember the names of anyone you worked with. The company you were at has probably gone under or otherwise is so restructured by now that no one there remembers you and the job there is nothing like what you did.

15 years ago, the average office had character terminal computers running off of mainframes and most people weren't using Windows yet.

Don't worry about being thorough on your resume. My first job was as a bus boy in a restaurant. Do I really need to list that? Obviously not. And there is your permission to omit some of your earlier work. Just list your recent employment tailoring your bullet points to your best accomplishments that best fit the job you are applying for.

When I go through resumes, I typically scan the current position or last position held, and I look at the accomplishments and the brief job description. I rarely look at anything else on it except to scan it for an overall pattern.

If anyone needs that level of detail, give them your CMD as described above.

bflynn's picture

When I've scanned resumes, I do the same thing - last two jobs is what I'll look most strongly at. Maybe I'll go back to a previous job if there's specific experience that interests me.

BTW, for those who doubt the effectiveness of sending a one page resume, let suggest that if you start with a 4 page document and concentrate it down to a single page, you're able to deliver a very tightly controlled message of your experience. If you are less focued with that message, you are less effective.

Example - my experience covers the range including software developer, business analyst and project management. If I'm applying to a BA job, but list development and PM experience, I'm diluting the strength of my BA experience. I grade each bullet on my resume in my head (the MT way is to do it on index cards, which is probably more effective). If that bullet doesn't match one of the stated job criteria, it probably comes off the customized resume.

By the same token, if I have a "generic" resume, the bullets support what I want my next job to be...what I WANT to do. After going through a few jobs that I didn't really enjoy, that's a great feeling.

Just a thought, hope it helps. I actually started working as a contractor a month or two ago in a position gained through my network. So, networks are still the best job searching tool.