Downsizing Your Tech Résumé to a Single Page

The majority of employers review online profiles, code samples and portfolios before inviting candidates to interview, which means that most tech professionals no longer need a multi-page résumé.

But how do you condense your entire career into a single page and still manage to show that you meet the job’s qualifications?

This is one of those surprising times when less is more. Here’s a look at some creative ways to downsize your résumé to just one page. 

Maximize Every Inch of Space

Most traditional résumé formats waste a lot of space. For instance, there’s usually extra white space in the header and margins, as well as double spacing between each category or at the bottom of a page.

“Whittle your letterhead down to two lines by eliminating extraneous information,” advised Laurie James, master career director and certified résumé writer. “For example, only include your contact information, city, state and zip code, and use initials after your name to highlight your certifications.”

Reduce the need for a lengthy profile and objective by inserting a one- or two-sentence summary statement (encapsulating who you are and what you’re looking for) into the header. To promote your brand, consider adding a one-line personal mantra or a short list of awards, professional passions or side projects.

Use colors or alternate font styles to designate different sections or categories of information in the body of the document, advised Dana Leavy-Detrick, founder of Brooklyn Resume Studio.

For example, you can squeeze in a few more lines by going down to a 10-point font or choosing a condensed font for section headings; just make sure to pick a typeface that is easy to read in print and on-screen. Notice how this sample résumé for Elon Musk utilizes color, and two columns, to maximize every inch of available space.

Finally, list your technical skills and certs on a single line separated by bullets, or put them in a text box. Eliminate phrases such as “references available upon request” and trim down your education section (unless you’ve recently graduated from college or grad school, or adding coursework enhances your candidacy).

Make Your Résumé R.O.A.R. (Results-Oriented and Relevant)

To make the task of downsizing your work history and technical skills a little less daunting, stick to your last three to five jobs and eliminate any experience, tools, frameworks or software programs older than 10 years. Frankly, a lot of your older accomplishments and technical skills have little value. Let them go.

Next, only include two to five accomplishment bullets per job. These bullets should be highly relevant to your target position. Create single sentences or phrases that use facts and data to convey your results; remove any task-oriented statements. While you’re at it, consolidate or eliminate any repetitive bullets.

“Most managers and reviewers know what you do day-to-day,” Leavy-Detrick said. “Try to stay high-level by highlighting accomplishments, not job functions.”

Inserting numbers and relevant competencies into each bullet will let you demonstrate how you’ve applied both hard and soft skills to achieve critical results. Just make sure to highlight examples that are clearly related to the position you’re applying for. Focusing on similar experience will not only grab the attention of the reviewer, it will help you incorporate keywords from the job posting, ensuring your résumé is selected by screening software (ATS).

Laszlo Bock, the former SVP of People Operations at Google, offers this very simple formula for presenting your accomplishments:

Accomplished [X] as measured by [Y] by doing [Z]

Keep that in mind when breaking down your experience.

Encourage Action

Include custom links to your GitHub and LinkedIn profiles, as well as a link to your website or portfolio, James added. This will encourage potential employers to examine your coding samples and other past work. If you want to provide more details or specifics, put them into your cover letter or cover email.

Remember, your résumé only has one purpose: to get you an interview. By condensing your experience and skills to only the most relevant bits, you’ll have more of an impact on the hiring manager who’s scanning your application.

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