I recently chatted with a friend who works in HR, and she’s a little frustrated. Many of the resumes she’s sorting through this week don’t show the work history clearly.

Like many hiring managers, she likes to see a traditional, chronological format organized by dates. She especially is frustrated when she sees accomplishments separated from dates, with a short list of jobs at the bottom. It makes her wonder what the applicant is hiding.

The most important thing to her and other hiring managers is that you list jobs with titles, company names, locations, dates, and accomplishments. She wants scan and understand those details quickly.

No Lofty Claims

Another pet peeve of hiring managers is the summary or top section of most resumes. My friend would prefer that they went away altogether, and she often skips them.

It’s a great reminder that while it has become standard to add summaries, most of them won’t fix a wonky work history.

I write summaries for my clients, but I tend to keep them simple, and I like to stick with facts, not flowery language. For example: “10 years of IT management experience.”

I avoid adjectives that aren’t backed up by the work history. “Tech-savvy,” for instance, won’t mean much if you have no tech accomplishments in the experience section.

Keep it Short

I sometimes see resumes that are three, four, even five pages long. Most hiring managers want to see two pages, tops.

There’s a reason so many job seekers struggle with long resumes. It can be so hard to let go of experiences that aren’t relevant, dig into the past to find ones that are, and sum everything up in two pages, but it’s important to make life easy on the hiring managers.

Simple, personalized, targeted, easy-to-read applications don’t just happen, they take extra work, and we’re all short on time. One thing to keep in mind is that a resume writer can serve as your editor, your sounding board, and the bad guy who deletes an early career experience that needs to be left behind.

I often think editing is the most valuable service I provide my clients. I also rewrite to make the document more concise without losing valuable information. You don’t have to go it alone.

If you’d like me to review your resume and provide a free, no obligation quote, email it at meredith@mltcareers.com.

Best of luck out there!