TMI on Your Resume? Here’s What to Do

Writing the perfect resume to land your dream job isn’t easy. Of course, you want to showcase all of your skills and experience, but you shouldn’t make it longer than necessary. If you have too much information on your resume, you may have to edit some things out.

What should you do if your resume has too much information? If a resume is too long or overly wordy, many employers won’t want to take the time to read it. When crafting a resume, it’s important to exclude older information and irrelevant experience from the final draft.

If you have a lot of experience and skills related to your field, you may want to include everything on your resume. But part of writing a perfect resume includes knowing what to leave out. That’s why you should be more critical of your resume than other things you may write.

Can a Resume Have Too Much Information?

When formatting your resume, you may have a lot of information that you want to add. From your most recent job back to your first high school gig, work experience can easily be longer than a page. But a long resume isn’t always a good thing, and too much information can be off-putting to some potential employers.

  • At the top of your resume, you should include only necessary contact information. However, you should avoid details like your full mailing address and other personal information about your age or family status.
  • Your objective is also a place that can get too cluttered. Include a short title or statement about the job you want, but that’s it.
  • Any education or skills you include should be recent. If you include education from decades ago, take that off your resume.
  • Of course, you should start with your most recent job and go back from there. But like education, you should keep your work history to the last 10 years or so.
  • It might be tempting to include references at the end of your resume but don’t. While references are important, they can take up valuable space on a resume.
  • Throughout all of these sections, keep it brief. Try not to write lengthy paragraphs about your experiences. That can be overwhelming to many recruiters and hiring managers.

It can be easy to go overboard when writing a resume. You want to put your best foot forward when applying for a job, and it might seem like including every detail on your resume would help. However, you have to put yourself in the shoes of people reading your resume.

You probably wouldn’t want to read pages of irrelevant details about a job applicant. If you have a ton of applications, you need to be able to go through them quickly. So give your recruiter or hiring manager a break and send a resume without any added fluff.

Older Experience

As you move through your career, the work history section on your resume will get longer and longer. That can quickly turn a single-page resume into one with more than enough information. If you’ve had many jobs, you will have to take some off of your resume, and older jobs are an excellent place to start.

Including past jobs on your resume shows that you can get hired and can do what you’re hired to do. It shows that you can follow through and that you have experience working and reporting to someone. However, you don’t need decades of work experience to prove that to a future employer.

This is why it makes sense to remove older positions from your resume. If you have a long work history section, consider removing the oldest position from the list. You can remove more positions to further shorten this section and your resume overall.

Another reason to remove old work experience from your resume is that it may not be as relevant to what you’re doing now. Your high school job at a restaurant probably isn’t something you need to show when you’re in your professional career.

Irrelevant Experience

Just how a job from years ago doesn’t have a place on your resume, neither does irrelevant experience. This could include anything from a summer job to an internship or volunteer project in a field other than your current career. Sure, those experiences helped shape you as a person, but you don’t need to broadcast them on your resume.

  • Consider your current field of work and the area in which you are applying for jobs. Think about how relevant your past jobs are.
  • If you have tons of work experience, leave out the irrelevant jobs you’ve had.
  • For recent grads without much experience, you can leave some irrelevant jobs there. Just make sure you adjust your resume as you gain relevant experience.
  • If you’re trying to transition from one field to another, you may need to include recent jobs that aren’t related to your new field. As long as the positions are from the past couple of years, that should be okay.

It can be hard to determine if a past job is relevant to the one you want. If you feel like you have to include a specific position on your resume, make sure it’s recent. You can also emphasize certain parts of the description for that old job in such a way that it sounds more relevant to your dream job.

Skills That Aren’t Up to Date

Similar to old work experience, old skills don’t have a place on your current resume. If you used Excel in college but haven’t touched it in years, your skills may not be up to date. Of course, you can always refresh your knowledge of Excel.

But if there’s a skill that you haven’t used in years and probably won’t need to use in your new job, take it off of your resume. The ability to use Windows XP isn’t something you’ll probably need. Other out of date skills might include older versions of Microsoft Office or Internet Explorer.

Once you remove these older skills from your resume, you will have more space for relevant skills. Or you can leave the information out and have a shorter resume. If you take a skill off your resume, you can always add it later if you decide it is relevant.

Save your precious resume space for things that are up to date. That way, you can showcase what you can do now, and you won’t have to worry about quickly relearning an old skill.

Irrelevant Skills

Even if you just used a unique skill the other day, that doesn’t mean you should include it on your resume. As we’ve mentioned, your resume should be polished and sleek. If you take out irrelevant work experience, you should also take out irrelevant skills.

  • Think about the aspects of your dream job. Consider everything from the software you might use to the day to day interactions you might have.
  • While you will probably learn new skills, you don’t have to include all of your current skills.
  • If you want to work for a company that uses Windows, you don’t need to share that you’re proficient in Mac or vice versa.
  • When applying for a desk job, you probably don’t need to include that you have a black belt in karate.
  • If you’re unsure of whether a skill is relevant to your dream job, look at the job description. See what they list as daily activities, and determine what skills you have that apply to the situation and leave off other skills.
  • You can also research similar positions to find what skills are relevant to that type of job.

At the end of the day, you can include as few or as many skills on your resume as you want. However, if you can keep your skills section as short as relevant as possible, you will make it much easier for a hiring manager to scan your resume. You can always discuss other skills once you get the job.

Can a Resume Be Too Wordy?

Even if you only include recent, relevant jobs and skills, your resume might still be a little long. That can happen if you’re too wordy with things like job descriptions. Long job descriptions can be hard to read, and bad resume formatting can also be difficult to get through.

As you write your resume, you have to ask yourself if you would want to read it. The more you can think like a recruiter, the easier it will be for you to write a job-winning resume. A wordy resume can lead to a few problems.

The first issue of a wordy resume is that it can take up a ton of pages. If you have a long objective section and many long job descriptions, that could add multiple unnecessary pages to your resume. Meanwhile, a similar resume that isn’t as wordy might be able to fit on a page or two.

Depending on how you format your resume, you can get it to fit on a couple of pages. However, a single-page resume can still be wordy. In this case, you might not be formatting your resume in an optimal way.

If you use long sentences and paragraphs throughout your resume, that may save space, but it will be a lot of text. Big blocks of text tend to be challenging to read. Save your recruiter or hiring manager the headache, and make it so that your resume isn’t overly wordy.

Lengthy Job Descriptions

Many employers want to know what jobs you’ve had and the basics of those jobs. But they don’t need to read the entire job description of each position you’ve held. While you should cover all of your day to day responsibilities, you don’t need to share every little project you worked on.

  • If you have fewer previous jobs, you might be able to get away with adding a few more responsibilities to a job description.
  • The more jobs you want to include on your resume, the shorter each description should be. That way, you can keep your resume short.
  • Stick with the basics of a job description. If you have to look up a responsibility you had, it may not have been prominent enough to take up space on your resume.
  • Avoid listing company-specific activities or terms on your resume. Odds are your future employer won’t understand what those things mean.

While a lengthy job description might be necessary for some positions, it can make your resume a lot longer than necessary. If you feel you need to write a lengthy job description for a recent position, make sure you format it nicely. Bad formatting can be just as bad as long resumes.

Bad Formatting

There are multiple reasons for the growing industry surrounding resume writing. One of those reasons probably has to do with formatting a resume correctly. If you want to submit a high-quality resume, you need to consider the format as much as the content.

  • Use headers to break up different sections of your resume. You can use headers for your name and contact information, your objective, work history, and more.
  • Write your job descriptions as bulleted lists. That will make them easy to read, and you won’t have to write long paragraphs.
  • Avoid long sentences and paragraphs throughout your resume. Your resume needs to be quick and easy to read. This isn’t a term paper.
  • Space things out, but don’t go overboard. You shouldn’t squish all of the elements together, but you also don’t need to have a lot of white space between sections.
  • Consider the company you want to work for. If they’re a bit more professional, you need a professional format. For other companies, you might be able to get away with a more creative resume template.

The way you format your resume could mean the difference between landing the job and never hearing back. If a recruiter can’t quickly read your resume and get the gist of your experience, they probably won’t want to go through the hiring process with you. That’s why your resume’s format can help you flush things out.

What to Do When Your Resume is Too Long

Whether a job listing includes a maximum resume length or not, your resume could still be too long. Even after you leave out old or irrelevant skills and jobs, you might still have a lot of information left over. Luckily, there are more things you can do to make your resume clean, short, and ready to send with your next application.

Depending on the length of your current resume, you may need to do multiple things to make it short enough for a job application. However, once you do shorten it, you can edit it for future jobs you apply for. That way, you don’t have to cut out information completely.

If you still have trouble shortening your resume, have a friend or mentor look over it. A second person might be able to spot errors that you would never notice. That second person might also have a more neutral opinion about your resume, so they can make more suggestions about what to cut.

Follow a Resume Template

The easiest way to keep a resume short is to follow a resume template. This might require you to rework your resume, but you shouldn’t have to rewrite the information. Instead, following a template will help you organize the information in your resume, and the right template can help you keep your resume from getting too long.

  • Many resume templates can serve as examples for what to include as well as for the length of a resume. Even if you don’t follow a template completely, you can still use it for general inspiration.
  • Some resume templates will include examples of different sections. That can consist of an example of an objective, an example job description, or an example listing of formal education.
  • You can also look at different resume templates to get a few ideas on how to format your resume. If you do this, try to find templates of resumes for people in your field to get an idea of how they should look for the job you want.
  • While you can veer from a resume template, the closer you stick with a template, the easier it will be to keep the content short. If you decide to change the layout or design, avoid major changes that affect the length of your resume.

There are tons of resume templates available online, so you can probably find one that works for you. You can find resume templates for all sorts of jobs, fields, and experience levels. And because of the number of templates, you can still make your resume look unique.

Leave Out References

If you find that you just can’t seem to make your resume short enough, it might be that you’re including references. Typically, employers will have a section on the application for them. Even if an employer doesn’t have such a section, they can ask you for contact info if they need references later.

You can, and should, still keep track of professional references, though you should do this outside of your resume. If you want to keep track of the contact info for your references, you can use a spreadsheet. Create a sheet with columns for reference names, phone numbers, and emails.

If a spreadsheet isn’t your thing, you can also record this information in a document or as a note on your smartphone. You can even go low-tech and use a paper notebook. Just make sure you have the references handy in case you do need them for a job application.

This will also give you the ability to substitute different references based on the specific job you’re applying to. You can choose people who will be able to talk you up for a particular position rather than a few recommendations for any job.  For another idea for how to handle references, check out this website here.

Take Out Reasons for Leaving

Just like how you shouldn’t list references on your resume, you also shouldn’t list reasons for leaving past jobs. Some employers won’t care why you left, and they might even be able to guess based on your employment history. If an employer is curious, they can always ask you in person at an interview.

  • If you left a position around the time you graduated college, your recruiter can probably guess that those two events were related.
  • On the other hand, an end of a job that coordinates with the beginning of a degree can lead your recruiter to believe you left a position to focus on school.
  • Like it or not, it can be assumed that women who leave the workforce for some time probably do so to take care of their children.
  • If you left a job on anything other than great terms, you should definitely exclude your reason for leaving. Your employer might ask about it, and in person, you can further explain the reasoning.
  • Even if your reason for leaving was relatively positive, it can take up space on a resume. And since some employers may not care about the reason, you should save the space for more important things.

Whether you left a job to go to school or because your boss wasn’t great, your resume isn’t the place to disclose that information. You want your resume to give off the best impression possible, and that means keeping it positive and professional. Giving a reason for leaving can add extra clutter, and you can always discuss those reasons later if the time comes.

Keep It Professional

A resume needs to be professional, so in most cases, you need to stick to professional information. That means that aside from your name, phone number, and a professional-sounding email address, you don’t need to give any personal information.

It might be tempting to share certain hobbies or personal accomplishments, but those things typically fall under the “irrelevant” category. If you get hired, you can discuss your interests during a break with your colleagues. Adding that stuff to your resume will just make it long and tedious for your recruiter to read.

Of course, there are some fields and positions that will require some personal information. Models, actors, and singers will probably need to share information about their height and weight. Singers might need to give their voice type so that they can be accurately cast in a show.

However, other fields don’t need this information. And in all areas, some demographic information can’t be a factor in the hiring process. That doesn’t mean you can’t include that information on your resume, but it might make it harder for the employer to make an unbiased hiring decision.

If you can keep your resume focused on your accomplishments rather than your personal stats, it will be easier for a hiring manager to consider your application. You also don’t have to worry if your age, gender, or other personal info kept you from getting a job. This article shares some other things you should consider leaving off of your resume.

Write Multiple Resumes

Another way a resume can become overly long and wordy is if you try to make one resume fit every job. No two situations are exactly alike, and using the same resume for every job you apply to isn’t the best idea. Not only does that mean you need to list more things on your resume, but it won’t feel personalized to the employer.

  • You can use the same basic template for each resume you create. That way, you have something to go off of when creating other resumes.
  • As you apply to more jobs, you can make changes to your resume so that it’s more relevant to that position. You can highlight specific skills or experiences that a particular company is looking for.
  • If you’ve worked in multiple industries, you can have resumes for each. That can be nice for an accountant who has experience with both small business clients and corporate firms.
  • Multiple resumes can also come in handy if you are in one field, but you want to open yourself up to different positions. You can focus one resume on, for example, the training side. Another resume could be for the sales division.

While you may not have time to write a new resume for each job you apply to, having multiple versions on hand will give you an edge. You can apply with the resume that best fits the position, so the hiring manager can learn all they need to know about you and nothing they don’t. Just make sure that you keep each resume short and to the point.

Final Thoughts

When applying for a job, you want to make the best impression that you can. But there’s a difference between showing your accomplishments and sharing your entire life story. If your resume is on the long side, you can probably change the formatting or get rid of a section or two.