QUESTION: How long should my resume be? I’ve heard I should keep it to one page. Is this true?
The length of your resume is determined by two main factors: 1) the value that you bring to the table and need to communicate 2) the attention span and digestibility on the receiving end. This will “translate” in most cases to a resume length between one and three pages. A one pager will typically be too short for most senior and executive roles.
If you are a young professional with little work history, a one-page resume is acceptable. When people have more than 10 years of career history, it becomes difficult to maintain all information within one-page. I write many resumes that are two pages in length. The most important thing is to not short-change your background without adding extra information that is not needed.
Resume length should be dictated by content, not by outdated rules or preconceived ideas about what a resume “should” be. One page often works well for recent grads with little work experience, while two page resumes are typical for experienced professionals. However, there are always exceptions! Be concise, but not at the expense of powerful content that distinguishes you from other candidates.
The “no-more-than-one-page” rule is a myth, although a single-page document might be the ideal length for a new grad. Typically, resumes are 2 pages for mid-level professionals and 2+ pages for executives. There are exceptions for those in scientific and academic fields, so consult a professional resum writer to be sure your resume is the correct length and structure for your targeted position.
If you are out of school less than five years, the general rule is to keep it to one page. Beyond that, two pages isn’t a problem, and for very senior people it may extend beyond that. What is most important is ultimately not the length but presenting your personal brand, skills, professional experience and relevant education, certifications, publications and professional affiliations.
Resume length should depend on your experience. A new college grad probably will present a one-page resume, while someone with more positions will have enough relevant information to fill two pages. The key is to highlight your contributions – what projects did you work on or actions did you initiate that had a positive impact on the company or delivered quantifiable results?
There’s no rule that a resume must be one page, especially for a job seeker with significant experience. A resume is a marketing tool. As such, it should be long enough to effectively convey your accomplishments and the value you can offer an employer, without reading like a novel or containing too much “fluff”. Most resumes are 1-3 pages, but that does not mean a great resume can’t be longer.
I hate to say it depends, but it does. If you have more than 10 years of experience, a two-page resume is not unwarranted. Less than 10, you should strive for one page. If using a two-page resume, be sure the first page contains the most relevant and impactful content. While systems that scan resumes today will read all content, the human reader (aka the recruiter) more than likely will not.
Your resume should be as long as necessary to effectively portray your qualifications and experience. It’s as simple as that! If this can be accomplished in one page, you are probably not an executive or senior manager! If it takes two, that’s fine. And if you are at a very senior level or are in a highly technical/scientific field, academia or medicine, three or even four pages may be warranted.
Most employers prefer a two page resume if you have numerous years of experience so they can get a summary of your job duties and a list of your accomplishments in each position. However, if you have less than 5 years of experience it may be best to have a one page resume. You want your resume to be readable, so the best size font for most resumes is point size 11 or 12.
The length of your resume depends on your experience and how long you have been working. Usually, two strategically written pages can tell the reader what they want to know: who you are, what you do and why you are the best candidate for the position. For C-Level executives it could take three pages to tell a compelling narrative of the success that was achieved because of their leadership.
College grad resumes should be one page, middle managers two pages. Executives with strong and lengthy career histories might go for a 3-page resume provided they are in an industry that favors experience over having a more recent skill set (CFO favors experience, Digital Marketing Director favors a more recent skill set).
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