Spring Cleaning Your Resume: Tips for Keeping it Concise

Sometimes, less is more.

With recruiters and hiring managers only spending a matter of seconds on their first scan of a resume, it’s imperative to make your resume concise so that they can see at a glance what you offer and why you’re right for the role. A wall of words and waffle won’t help your cause; to make an impact, you need to make every single word earn its place. Easier said than done? Let’s look at the options. 

What is a concise resume?

First off, let’s think about the meaning of “concise resume.” A concise resume is really the gold standard of resumes – they pack a punch by saying a lot in a few words. If a resume is too wordy, its message is diluted and it can be off-putting to readers. A concise resume is exactly the opposite; it grabs attention by focusing the reader on the applicant’s core message.

In this article, we’ll look at how to make a resume concise and easy for recruiters to skim by sharing the tips and tricks of the trade. 

How to write a concise resume

When you’re trying to make an impact quickly, your choice of words matters. If a word doesn’t add concrete value to your resume, it’s time to hit delete. So how can you make your resume less wordy? Try some of these techniques to ensure you’re getting your message across quickly: 

Cut out pronouns

It’s considered resume-writing best practice to omit pronouns. They’re the words that refer to people – for example, “I,” “me,” “my,” and “our.” They might not save you a lot space-wise, but they do force you to get straight to the point. Jump straight to the verb (or the “doing word”) in the sentence. For example, instead of writing “I achieve my deadlines,” you can write “achieving deadlines.”

Avoid long paragraphs

Long paragraphs just aren’t eye-catching. Limit yourself to four or five lines maximum if you need to use a paragraph. When you write in this style, it’s easy to get carried away telling your story. Aim for a snappier format, such as bullet points, wherever possible, to make your resume concise. 

Focus on achievements 

There’s no place for fluff and padding when you’re trying to make your resume concise. They might sound good in a novel, but on a resume they contribute nothing to your candidacy. Rather than launching into an adjective-filled essay about the ins and outs of your role, it’s generally considered more impactful to focus on your achievements. If you can catch the hiring manager’s eye by showing how you’ve contributed to a business and the impact you can have, you’re already well on your way to an interview. 

Write STAR-format bullets

The STAR format forces you to really get to the crux of the matter. STAR stands for Situation, Task, Action, and Result. You’ll need to identify one of your successes and focus on the Result of that success. You can then briefly outline the context using the Situation, Task, and Action. For example: 

Keep bullets to two lines or fewer

When writing your bullet points, aim to keep them to just one or two lines. Any more, and you’re creeping into the waffle zone. Remember that your reader doesn’t care about your current or past employers, colleagues, or work processes. Simply tell them the results you’ve delivered and how. 

Use digits 

This is an easy trick to make your resume pop – write numbers as digits rather than words. While it may not save a huge amount of space, the digits jump off the page when it’s scanned in a way that words just don’t. In a sea of words, this little trick to focus the recruiter’s eyes on your results is an easy win. 

Add detail appropriate to the position 

Carefully consider how much detail you include for each job. Space should be weighted in favor of your most recent roles, as that’s likely to be where your most senior and most relevant experience lies. That means that, if 10 lines is appropriate for your current management role, it certainly isn’t appropriate for a part-time job you held 20 years ago. Reduce the detail as you go further back in time. 

Save something for the interview 

A resume is not a life story. If you want to make your resume concise, you’ll need to keep a little back. Think of your resume as a movie trailer of your life and give just enough information to make people want to find out more. 


Be your own harshest critic. When you’ve written your resume, it’s time to edit. Approach every line with the mindset of “what does this add?” If it hurts to hit delete on huge swathes of your career, you can always keep a master resume for future reference with all the additional details. 


In a similar vein, not every aspect of your career will be relevant to every job you apply for. Evaluate the job posting and remove from your resume any redundant information that won’t help you to land that specific job. 

Formatting a concise resume

When your mission is to make your resume concise, it’s not just the words you need to look at, it’s the format and layout too. If your reader can immediately locate the information they’re looking for, that’s half the battle for their attention won. Try these tips to save space while maximizing content:

Use an appropriately-sized font

Obviously, using a large font will take up more space. It’s not a good idea to make your resume more concise by changing this to a tiny font, though. Readability should always be at the forefront of your mind when creating your resume. We recommend a font size of 10 to 12- point, and slightly larger for headings. 

Maximize white space

Rather than cramming your pages from edge to edge with text, make use of white space to make your resume visually appealing. Consider adding space between lines and sections so that a recruiter can easily navigate your resume and keep your margins to a realistic size.

Limit yourself to two pages 

The eternal “how long should a resume be?” debate rages on, but the common consensus is that, for most people, two pages is the optimum length. Almost everyone can achieve this with some ruthless editing and focus. 

Concise resume example 

It always helps to have an example! We’ve created a concise resume for John Doe to inspire your own resume writing. 

John Doe – Associate Producer                                                   

Texas   |   555-555-555   |   [email protected]   |   LinkedIn

A forward-thinking Associate Producer, confident working directly with clients to understand and meet their needs. Consistently achieves challenging deadlines while maintaining quality. Possesses experience in the full production lifecycle, from client brief through to final cut and distribution. Quickly builds relationships with crews, clients, and colleagues and is recognized for meticulous attention to detail.

Key Skills 

Project Management   |   Project Planning   |   Progress Tracking   |   Scheduling   |   Casting   |   Crew Coordination   |   Client Briefs   |   Client Presentations   |   Scouting and Sourcing   |   Production

Professional Experience

Associate Director                                                                                                                            Acme Inc.

Jan 2024 – Apr 2024

Contributed to a product photoshoot for a sports equipment company. Interviewed photographers and scouted locations. Scheduled and coordinated casting. Set the project timeline. Provided input when presenting the proposal and final work to the client. Supported the Director throughout the filming process and coordinated the entire crew on site.

  • Successfully organized a complex shoot for over 300 products, which was completed within the $500,000 budget and which met all client requirements

  • Developed a reputation for adapting quickly and always maintaining good oversight of the project to ensure efficient completion

  • Received excellent feedback on client presentations

Post-Production Coordinator, Associate Producer, Director and Producer, ABC Studios

Jan 2023 – Dec 2023

Supported diverse client projects from concept through to post-production. Took client briefs and developed project timelines. Delivered client presentations and communicated feedback to the team. Scheduled and coordinated casting. Scouted potential locations and sourced the crew. Coordinated crew both on location and in the studio. Assisted the Director on site during filming to ensure requirements were met.

  • Produced an interactive video for a corporate annual meeting and delivered the entire project to the client on time, despite having to re-shoot the entire film due to a camera issue

  • Played a key role in producing a short video, leveraging previous experience with the same client to surpass requirements and delivering the finished project within just a few days

  • Consistently met contractual requirements and client expectations in terms of deadlines, script, film quality, and compliance with brand guidelines

Assistant Director                                                                                                                             XYZ Plc

Jan 2022 – Dec 2022

Produced scripts for 4 corporate videos in line with the client brief and brand voice. Supervised recording on location. Oversaw video editing. Reviewed audiovisual materials with the client and implemented changes to accommodate feedback.


Bachelor’s degree: Mass Communication and Media Studies, Campus University, 2021      

The takeaway

A concise resume is a winning resume. To make your resume concise, you’ll need to write articulately, with one eye on your target job and the other on marketing yourself. With a bit of focus and a lot of editing, it’s perfectly achievable!

Is your resume too wordy, or have you written a concise, compelling document? Why not send it for a free resume review by the team at TopResume? 

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