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Simple steps to declutter your resume.

Does your resume spark joy? Highly unlikely, I know. (Unless I recently re-wrote it for you!)

Unless you've been living under a rock for the last 10 years, you will have heard about Marie Kondo and her approach to decluttering and organising your life. Her approach is to go through each item in your home to see if it sparks some joy. If not, you donate it or throw it out.

Unfortunately you can't discard your entire resume. However, a major overhaul - Marie Kondo style - can help to spark some joy - if not for you, but for the prospective employer reading it!

So do you declutter your resume - Marie Kondo style?


Marie Kondo says to imagine your ideal lifestyle prior to tidying up. So the first step is to imagine the ideal 'career you'. How do you want to be perceived? What is your ideal job or dream job at the moment?

Start incorporating the ideal 'career you' into your resume, starting with an overhaul of your professional profile. It's all about personal branding. Who are you? You decide.

Old Stuff

  • Haven't worn it in 10 years? You say thank you and pass it on.

  • Have detail on your CV about jobs that were more than 10 -12 years ago? It's time to say goodbye.

You can keep the name of the job, organisation and dates in a Career Summary section, but there is no need for any detail about older roles (unless they are extremely relevant to the role you are applying for and you don't have any recent relevant experience).

The same goes for information about your high schooling. Unless you are a recent school graduate, the high school you went to and the awards you got in year 12 are no longer relevant.

Tidy by category

It's easiest to work through each section of your resume one by one, just as you would tidy your home in categories.

So start at the bottom of your resume, with your References, Other Information (professional development, volunteer work, technical skills), Education and Training.

Next it's your Employment History. This is the biggest bit to work on culling - see Scrutinise each item below.

The final step is your Skills, Achievements and Professional Profile. These form the front page of your resume.

Set aside time to work on one section per day and you'll have a new resume in no time.

Scrutinise each item

While every item of clothing in your wardrobe is scrutinised to see if it sparks joy (and is useful enough to keep), every sentence in your resume needs to be similarly scrutinised.

Your resume needs to be punchy and succinctly sell your skills and achievements. So you need to analyse every single sentence and ask yourself if it needs to be there.

Ask the question - "So what?".

Does that sentence or section add value? Have you already said enough about a particular job? Will the employer or recruiter be so bored by the detail that they stop reading?

Once you've done your first cull, ask a trusted friend for their opinion.

Visual Appeal

A neatly folded drawer of clothes brings a sense of calm and makes it easy to find key items. You can apply this same theory to your resume.

Is your resume in Times New Roman font? Are there pictures and multiple colours? If so, it's time to choose a clean, neat, modern font and professional colour scheme. I suggest Calibri light in dark grey, with the section headings in black or a colour.

You should also make your resume style matches your cover letter. Use your name in the header as your template across all your job application documentation. (It's like your own personal letterhead.)

And lastly, make the key information easy to find. Have clear section headings. Have your key skills in a table on the front page of your resume with a clearly written professional profile at the top of the page.


Need help decluttering and sorting your resume? The Not Just a Resume Template program is a great place to start.

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