Is It Long Enough For Them? Your Resume Length!

March 13, 2016
Did you ever wonder how long your resume is supposed to be?

Does it have enough information?

Will it be enough information to catch the recruiter’s eye? Well, there are many sides to this story.
The new guideline is: A resume should be long enough to entice hiring managers to call you for job interviews. That may sound vague, but there is no hard-and-fast resume length rule that works for everyone. Factors to consider include career objective, occupation, industry, years of experience, number of employers, scope of accomplishments and education/training.

When deciding on resume length, first, your resume is a career marketing tool, not an autobiography. Strive to keep your resume simple and focused on your key selling points. Let go of past experiences that don’t market you for your current goal. Every word in the resume should sell your credentials and value to a potential employer. You should also leave something to talk about in the interview.

Second, it’s common for employers or recruiters to sort through hundreds, or even thousands, of resumes to fill one position. Hiring managers often give resumes just a cursory glance before deciding if the applicant deserves to be added to the “maybe” pile. While your resume will probably get a more thorough read if you are called for a job interview, ensure that your strongest selling points are immediately visible to make the first cut.

Use a one-page resume if:

• You have less than 10 years of experience.
• You’re pursuing a radical career change, and your experience isn’t relevant to your new goal.
• You’ve held one or two positions with one employer.
• Do NOT pad out your resume with irrelevant information just because you think it is too short – irrelevant information is easily noticed by experienced employers and they are not impressed by it. An inexperienced honest applicant will always be preferred to an inexperienced applicant who pads out his/her resume.

Use a two-page resume if:

• You have 10 or more years of experience related to your goal.
• Your field requires technical or engineering skills, and you need space to list and prove your technical knowledge.
Put the most important information at the top of the first page. Lead your resume with a capturing summary so your key credentials appear at the forefront of the resume. Then list your business and technical skills, professional experience and education should be last.

Consider a three-page resume or longer if:

• You’re a senior-level manager or executive with a long track record of leadership accomplishments.

• You are in an academic or scientific field with an extensive list of publications, speaking engagements, professional courses, licenses or patents.
Multiple-page resumes for executive professionals can use addendum pages after page two. Job seekers can decide whether to send the full document or just the first two pages to a potential employer, based on the job opportunity requirements.

As you evolve in your career, you’ll find that things that were once relevant on your resume aren’t anymore. For example, if you’ve been in your career a few years or are changing careers completely, there’s no need to list every duty for every position. Learn to recognize when compromising the quantity of your experiences will impact the quality of your employment story. If you have enough relevant experience, training, and credentials pertaining to the position to showcase on more than one page of your resume, then go for it. This doesn’t mean you detail all your accomplishments since your high school paper route. It also doesn’t mean listing every college course you’ve taken and certification you’ve earned. Most recruiters can tell you that if they are going to read a resume that’s more than one page, it better tell a good story about what you bring to the table. Listing every task you did as a manager doesn’t make you a good manager. But if you tell me that you increased productivity by 25% or highlight process changes for multiple teams at several companies—you’re justifying that space.

If you can quantify your accomplishments to tell how you made a role, job, project, or assignment better and you need more than one page to demonstrate it effectively, that’s time (and space) well spent.

In conclusion, both writing experts and employers agree that the resume length itself does not matter. What matters most is that your content is relevant, honest, neatly expressed without typos, and is impressive or at least indicative of potential.

So the important thing is not whether your resume is one page or two to three pages. The important mission is to catch the attention of the employer on the first page, then present just enough relevant information. Again, for many executive professionals one-page resume is too short. Therefore, if you have many years of professional experience, plus you are a good fit for the position, you’re not expected to write it all on one page. If you have less professional experience under your belt, give related information. Information that does not immediately appear to be relevant to the job can often be formulated so that it does. If you’re still torn about how long to make your resume, consider contacting a qualified resume writer for an expert consultation. They know the recruiters and the ATS you’ll need to get around.

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