Best way to improve your resume? Kill your darlings

Anthony Haynes writes: Yesterday I attended an excellent presentation by Steve Joy based on his experience as a careers adviser at the University of Cambridge. Steve identified the main mistakes he saw prospective candidates make on their resumes and letters of application.

steveSteve’s punchiest point? “Kill your darlings.” As Steve explained, this phrase in common in advice given to writers (such as poets or novelists): often it is the line or passage that a writer is most attached to that is in fact most need of being edited out.

The same applies to resumes. There may be some aspect of your personal history that you are particularly proud of or think makes you sound particularly interesting — some prize you won, for example. But is it really relevant to the job you’re applying for? If not, have the self-discipline to take it out – otherwise it will be taking up valuable space and may divert attention from the main narrative of your application.


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