7 Tips to Declutter Your Resume

Calendar Icon
June 12, 2024
Edited by
Camille Trent
Clock Icon
min read

3 key takeaways

  • A cluttered, messy resume can hold you back from landing an interview because it can be hard for hiring professionals to see your value at a glance.
  • There are seven ways to clean up a cluttered resume quickly.
  • Teal's AI Resume Builder can help you declutter your current resume so you don't have to start from scratch or delete details that might be important to your career in the future.

TLDR: Hiring managers and recruiters are overwhelmed. Take a quick look at LinkedIn, and it's easy to find 'over 100 applicants' for just about any remote job. With so many candidates for every position, hiring professionals have only a few seconds to take the first pass on each resume. If yours is too long, too disorganized, or too detailed, it will probably be overlooked.

In this post, you'll learn why you should clean up your cluttered resume and seven tips to make it clearer, polished, and organized—highlighting your unique value and making it easier (and faster) for you to land an interview.

Struggling to land interviews with a cluttered resume? Sign up for Teal and clean it up today.

Why you should declutter your resume

A cluttered resume can have a negative impact on your job search.

When your resume is unclear, disorganized, unfocused, or full of irrelevant details that take up unnecessary space, it becomes difficult for hiring managers to identify your key qualifications and fit for the role quickly. They can easily miss important information because it's buried or simply lose interest and move on to the next candidate.

Decluttering a resume can help you:

  • Improve readability: A clean, well-organized resume is easier to read and allows hiring managers to quickly see your key qualifications.
  • Highlight relevant details: By focusing on the most relevant skills and experiences, you make sure your resume showcases how you're the right fit for a job.
  • Make a strong first impression: A minimalistic resume with room to breathe looks more professional and makes a positive visual impact.
  • Increase comprehension: Clear, concise content helps recruiters understand your value prop without having to sift through unnecessary details.

Resume cleanup is about more than just removing words or adding white space; it's about strategically presenting your strengths in a way that grabs attention.

7 tips for decluttering a resume

A clean, concise resume will help you make a strong first impression. Below are seven tips to declutter your resume to showcase your unique value.

Analyze your resume

First, sign up for Teal.  Then, upload your current resume to get tailored resume tips using Teal's Resume Analysis. This helps you uncover any glaring gaps or oversights in your content.

Resume Analysis scans for quality issues, giving you a breakdown, suggestions for improvement, and a score that changes in real-time as you make adjustments—ensuring your professional summary, achievements, and skills align with modern best practices.

Finding resume clutter with Teal's Resume Analysis tool
Use Resume Analysis to get an initial breakdown of resume issues and how to fix them.

Once your Resume Score is at least 60%, it's time to spring-clean your content.

Tip 1: Trim excess details

When it comes to resumes, brevity is key.

One of the biggest mistakes job seekers can make is trying to include every single detail of their work history, education, and skills.

To trim excess details:

  • Prioritize: Focus on your most recent and relevant experience (focus on your last 10-15 years of experience), especially in the top third of your resume, where hiring managers look first
  • Use bullet points: Break down your achievements and results into bullet points for easy reading
  • Limit length: Your resume length should span one to three pages unless you're an executive or applying for a role that requires more in-depth information (like academia, law, or the medical field)

Not every detail of your work history is equally important for each application.

Relevant information means focusing on the skills, experiences, and achievements that are most applicable to a specific job you're applying for. Tailoring this information helps show prospective employers how you're an ideal fit for a position.

In Teal, just check (or uncheck) the boxes next to the most relevant details for each unique job. If you don't have a specific job in mind yet, check the boxes next to the details that best represent your most recent experience and core strengths.

Relevant details selected to declutter your resume
Declutter your resume by focusing on relevant details without deleting important information.

Tip 3: Use resume bullet points wisely

When it comes to presenting your work history, resume bullet points are your best friend. They make your resume more readable and help highlight your key accomplishments. Here's how to use them:

Focus on impact and results

Each job should have 3 to 5 bullet points that emphasize your achievements with results rather than just listing responsibilities.

For example, instead of saying, "Managed a team," try something like, "Led a team of 10 to exceed quarterly sales targets by 20%."

Be specific and quantify

Whenever possible, quantify your achievements. Numbers, metrics, and data grab attention and give a clear picture of your impact and results.

For instance, "Developed and implemented new service protocols based on customer feedback and industry best practices, resulting in a 15% year-over-year increase in customer satisfaction."

Use action verbs

Start each bullet point with a strong resume action verb to convey a sense of movement and initiative. Words like "achieved," "improved," "designed," and "implemented" are powerful and direct.

Tailor to the job

Customize your achievements for each job application to highlight the skills and experiences most relevant to the position.

Keep it concise

Aim for bullet points to be one to two lines long. Avoiding long-winded explanations can help shorten your resume, getting straight to the point.

Pro Tip: If you're stuck on how to talk about your proven track record, Teal’s customizable AI can guide you in writing better resume bullet points that stand out. Add a job description, specific keywords, or a prompt to generate tailored output.

Tip 4: Align language with every job

Using clear and simple language on your resume ensures hiring managers can easily understand your qualifications. Avoid complex jargon and align your skills, qualifications, and language with the job description. This helps you present yourself as the perfect fit for the role.

Teal’s Matching Mode can help you align your resume language to every job description. It gauges how closely your resume matches the job requirements, giving you a score and helping you improve that score with suggested hard skills, soft skills, and other important language without guesswork or filler. This results in a cleaner, more focused resume that highlights your most relevant qualifications and skills.

Tip 5: Focus on clean design

While the appearance of your resume isn't as important as the content, it's no secret that resume design impacts readability.

A well-designed resume ensures hiring managers can quickly find and understand your key qualifications.

Resume design tips:

  • Use white space by breaking up text with more space to make your resume readable
  • Assign headers to each section to help organize your content
  • Choose a readable font that's professional and easy to read
  • Avoid graphics or images on your resume so it’s clean and ATS-friendly

With Teal’s Design Mode, you can declutter your resume content quickly. Teal offers flexible, customizable resume formatting for a personalized, clear approach:

  • Templates: Choose from modern, traditional, or creative designs
  • Sections: Reorder and rename sections to fit your experience
  • Style: Select fonts, accent colors, and line height
  • Settings: Format dates, locations, and experiences
Teal's Design Mode can help clean up a cluttered resume
Use Teal's Design Mode to help clean up your cluttered resume.

Tip 6: Proofread and review

Proofreading is crucial for a polished resume. Here’s a quick checklist to ensure your resume is error-free:

  1. Spelling and Grammar: Double-check for typos and grammatical errors
  2. Consistency: Ensure consistent formatting, font, and style
  3. Clarity: Verify that your points are clear and concise
  4. Contact Information: Make sure your contact details (like your email and LinkedIn profile URL) are up-to-date and professional
  5. Professional tone: Maintain a professional and polished tone throughout
  6. Accuracy: Cross-check dates, job titles, and achievements for accuracy to avoid lying on your resume
  7. Relevance: Ensure all information is relevant to the job you're applying for

Tip 7: Regularly update

To avoid an outdated resume, tracking achievements once per month and saving them in Teal can help keep your resume current and ready whenever you need it.

Regular updates ensure your resume highlights your recent and relevant achievements, new skills, and updated career chronology. This proactive approach keeps you prepared for new opportunities without the stress of last-minute revisions.

With Teal, you don’t have to delete past experiences; you can store your entire career history for free and pick and choose what to include based on the job.

Declutter your resume with Teal

Every word on your resume should earn its valuable space. A cluttered, messy resume can hold you back from landing an interview because hiring professionals might not see your value at a glance.

Teal's AI Resume Builder offers tools like Matching Mode, Resume Analysis, and Design Mode to help you quickly declutter and optimize every section of your resume for modern best practices and maximum impact.

Don't let a cluttered resume hold you back from landing an interview.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can a resume be too cluttered?

Yes, a resume can be too cluttered, making it difficult for hiring managers to quickly identify your key qualifications. A well-organized resume that focuses on relevant details and is easy to read helps you make a strong first impression.

Is a crowded resume bad?

A crowded resume is bad because it can overwhelm hiring managers, causing them to miss important information about your qualifications. Simplifying and decluttering your resume ensures your key skills and experiences stand out.

Can a resume be too cramped?

Yes, a resume can be too cramped, which can make it hard for hiring professionals to scan and understand your qualifications. Using clear headings, bullet points, and white space can improve readability and highlight your strengths effectively.

Kayte Grady

Kayte, Senior Copywriter at Teal and Champion of ADHD professionals, is a seasoned writer passionate about storytelling and career growth. With a data-driven approach to content marketing and a word-nerd knack for resume builder analysis, Kayte’s on a mission to empower job seekers to land a job they love. Constantly pivoting and reinventing herself, this social-worker-turned-marketer found growth and camaraderie in tech—a genuine surprise given her never-ending devotion to the paper calendar.

We help you find
the career dream.