One question that many resume-writers ask themselves is how to deal with abbreviations and acronyms. It’s often tempting to abbreviate and use those acronyms as often as possible, since resumes should never be longer than one or two pages. And since you obviously want to pack as much relevant info as possible into those two pages, why not shorten as many words and phrases as possible?
Well, there’s good news and bad news on that front. The good news is that you can abbreviate and use acronyms where appropriate. The bad news is that you need to be careful about what you shorten and ensure that everything is clear to the reader.
When you’re deciding whether to use specific abbreviations and acronyms, there’s a simple test that you can use. Ask yourself whether the shortened version will still be clear – or confusing to the reader. With abbreviations, that decision is usually simple. If you use the standard abbreviation, there should be no problem. Acronyms can be more difficult, however, since so many acronyms have multiple meanings. However, even that can be overcome if you use them correctly.
You will likely want to use some abbreviations and acronyms. After all, you need to leave as much room in your resume as possible for skills, experience, and achievements. Long words and lengthy titles or organizational names could take up space that might be better used to document your value as an employee. We’ve compiled some tips that can help you to properly use abbreviations and acronyms.
First, strive for clarity. If an abbreviation could be misinterpreted, spell out the word instead. For example, words like million and billion should always be spelled out in their entirety. That’s because the “M” and “B” – or “Bn” abbreviations can either be misunderstood or unrecognized. On the other hand, another unit of measure – “thousand” – is almost always abbreviated when preceded by a numerical value. So, you would write “7k” instead of “7 thousand.”
Examples of other acceptable abbreviations:
You can also use less-common abbreviations, but only if you first list the full name so that readers can learn the reference. Make clarity your overriding concern. If there’s any doubt about whether the reader will understand an abbreviation, spell the word out instead.
The rules for using abbreviations and acronyms in a resume are similar. Like abbreviations, acronyms need to be properly understood by your reader. These simple tips can help you better manage your acronym usage in any resume or cover letter:
Abbreviations and acronyms can be a useful way to save space for skills and achievements. By shortening those long words, titles, and organizational names, you can reserve more of your resume for those important priorities. However, you must always think through the process and use these shortened terms the right way.