Everyone’s resume is unique. Deciding how long your resume should be 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.
In most cases, your resume should be one or two pages long.
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 one or 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 your resume for each job application. 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.
A resume summary should be short. A great Summary in a resume does not need to be more than a few sentences or paragraphs.
In a resume, the summary section is your introduction to an employer. It is where you can list some of your key skills, accomplishments, or credentials, right at the top of your resume. These highlights should be highly curated and specific to the job you are applying for. This means that your resume summary should only be as long as it needs to be to convince the hiring manager to read the rest of your resume.
If you are an experienced professional, you will likely want a two-page resume. This is the typical resume length for a mid-career professional. You should be able to condense your experience in an effective way, showcasing your skills and selling yourself efficiently.
If you are a student or recent graduate, you may feel that you don't have enough experience for a full two-page resume. That's not a problem. You should still be able to fill out a one-page resume, even if you don't have experience.
If you are writing a resume as a college student without experience, you may struggle to fill out even a single page. If this is the case for you, simply focus on your skills and academic experience. As a college student, you should now be familiar with certain tools, concepts, and abilities that will help you succeed in your career. Fill out your resume with the coursework, specializations, projects, or extracurriculars that are relevant to the job you are applying for.
This way, you should be able to create a one-page, entry-level resume that will land you a great job.
Your high school resume only needs to be one page long.
A high school resume will necessarily be on the short side. If you are still in high school, you can't have had very much work experience, unless you got started very young. As such, one page is long enough for a resume.
To fill out your one page high school resume, remember that anything can be experience. You don't need to leave your resume blank just because you haven't held formal employment. For your first resume, feel free to list your informal jobs from around the neighborhood, like mowing lawns, babysitting, or raking leaves. You can also include your involvement in school clubs, your volunteering experience, and your extracurriculars. With all this experience, you should be able to fill out your resume.
Community Success Manager & CV Writing Expert
Ben is a writer, customer success manager and CV writing expert with over 5 years of experience helping job-seekers create their best careers. He believes in the importance of a great resume summary and the power of coffee.
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