How Much Do I Convey on the Resume?

A client approached me with a 2-page summary explaining his 4 major accomplishments. After reading his what should be called manifesto in the form of a well put-together narrative, he asked if we should create a paragraph instead of a sentence to better convey these accolades. After careful consideration, in short, my answers was, “No. No one is going to read it.”

And that’s the ugly truth. Hiring managers are busy bodies. They are in charge of fiscal management, talent management, operational management, procurement, vendor relations, terminations, meetings, reports for meetings, meetings about scheduling meetings, and on and on and on. In theory, they always don’t want to read the entire resume, but would rather skim the content to decide if it’s not a waste of time having you come in for an hour and explain some of the “stuff” on there. But in reality, they just don’t have the time to read all the materials. And when you got meetings about meetings to attend, hiring managers tend to rely heavily on recruiters screening for good resumes for top talent or they flat out just put staffing initiatives on the bottom of the pile.

So back to my client and his eagerness to impress. I didn’t want to get into a full blown discussion on why it’s a bad idea to write paragraphs on your resume (visually unappealing, not good enough formatting, boring stories, etc.), but I explained that our jobs as resume writers is to make that paragraph into one sentence. We are wordsmiths after all.

And when clients want you to do a paragraph long synopsis of a super sweet accomplishment or project, I would advise them to save these super neat, not boring at all, what a great guy type-stories for the interview. No one reading the resume gives a you know what about the backstories of these accomplishments until the interview. The candidate simply needs to keep this in mind: create impactful line items as quick as possible to (1) get the reader enticed to learn more, and (2) trigger the client’s memory of that project or accomplishment by simply reading that one sentence for jogging his memory and going into further detail about it at the interview.

So please, save your space for more accomplishments. Branch out from 4 to 8 by shortening the verbiage. Don’t burden the poor readers with anecdotes. Tell them the Problem, what Action you took and what the Result was by said action (for more on PAR phrases, check this article out: and as short as you possibly can with high-level, professional language. That is the way to maximize your white space on that 2-page Word document, oh and not boring the reader. You’re a swell guy/girl, let them see that at the interview. But get the interview by being logical with your resume presentation.

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