Everyone’s resume is unique, the exact length of yours will depend on your skills, experience, and credentials. A great resume does not have to be long, but it shouldn’t be so short that it leaves out important information, either. With the right strategy, you can craft your resume to the exact right length for your next application.
Some job-seekers mistakenly believe that a resume should never exceed one page, but this is no longer the case. In the typewriter era, when most people spent their careers in just one or two long-term positions, it was easier to keep a resume this short. Nowadays, however, people may change jobs a dozen times or more throughout their career. More positions means more accomplishments and more certifications, and effectively keeping everything to a single page becomes more challenging.
This does not mean, however, that your resume should spread to four to five pages. Recruiters are mostly interested in the most recent ten years of your career, and they are not likely to read more than two or three pages of a resume, no matter how good it is. Research has shown that recruiters spend an astonishingly short average of just six seconds assessing each resume that crosses their desk, so it’s important to make sure that the most important information is near the top and that employers don’t have to sort through too many pages.
In short, your resume should be no longer than it needs to be. For most job-seekers, this will be two pages. Don’t make your resume so short that you are leaving out important information, but don’t let it become bloated and boring, either. Keep in mind, however, that the exact length of your resume will depend on your career and your level of experience.
When you write a job application, it is important to remember that the recruiters reviewing your resume are humans with human attention spans. Anyone tasked with sorting through hundreds of resumes is going to lose their concentration every now and then. To ensure that your resume gets the attention it deserves, try to keep it as short as you can without leaving out any important details. You don’t want the recruiter to drift off before they get to the end.
The exact length of your resume will depend on several factors, including your experience, the industry, the specific job you are applying for, and how far into your career you are. Further, your resume will not necessarily be the same length for every application, as you should customize it for each new role. Most job-seekers use a resume that is one or two pages long, but there are cases where a three or more page resume is acceptable.
There is no hard and fast rule that your resume must be restricted to a single page, but many job-seekers prefer this length. A one page resume will work best for you if:
In the past, the rule of thumb was that a resume should not exceed one page. In recent years, as job-hopping, freelancing, and online applications have become more common, two-page resumes have risen in popularity. Consider a two-page resume if:
Resumes longer than two pages are rare, but there are circumstances where they can be useful. Consider a three-page resume if:
If you have written your resume and found that it is exceeding your desired number of pages, there are a few ways to cut it down to size.
Ben is a writer and customer support specialist with 5 years of experience helping job-seekers create their careers. He believes in the importance of a great resume and the power of coffee.
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