This is one of the most common questions job seekers have. There is a ton of information out there and there, some say keep it to one page, others say 2 pages.
But seriously, how long should your resume be? Should your resume be longer than one page? The answer is, it depends on your experience and what position you’re targeting.
Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! By the end of this article, you will have a clear understanding of how long your resume should be.
You should limit your resume to one page if:
If you have less than 10 years of experience, limit your resume to one page. If you have a two-page resume with less than 10 years of experience, it’s most probably filled with “fluff”. Get your resume down to one page and focus on the relevant experience.
If you’re switching careers, your past experience won’t really be relevant to the new career. Try to lead with your skills and abilities if you’re in this position, rather than experience. A functional resume format may be better for you.
The same goes for recent grads. Odds are that you don’t have over 10 years of relevant experience, keep it to one page.
Your resume can be two pages if:
If you have over 10 years of relevant experience, your resume probably would need two pages. In addition, if you’re in a highly technical field like engineering or web development, you may need two pages to showcase your skills and experience. Finally, if you’re field also requires advanced education or experience, you may need a two page resume to get in all you experience, education, certifications, and training.
You could have more than two pages if you’re a high-level executive or in a very complex, technical field. A scientist may need more than two pages to showcase education, published work and studies.
I’m sure that most of you don’t need a three-page resume, so stick to a page, or two!
We reached out to Brenda Sackerman who works as a recruiter for American Express.
The first thing you need to do with your resume is to remove irrelevant and unnecessary information. This will allow you to free up space on your resume and convey effective and relevant information to the employer as to why you’re a good fit for the position.
Okay guys, I hate to break it to you but an employer doesn’t care about an internship you did 15 years ago, it’s time to let it go!
Your employer wants to see your most recent skills and experience. Try to put focus and emphasis on your most recent and relevant experience. Older jobs and experience should either be cut out or minimized so that the employer could focus on more important information that shows why you’re a good fit for the job.
Irrelevant experience, interests and activities should also be cut. Sure, volunteering for a community service is great, however, there is no need to put this in the experience section or dive into the details of your volunteer work. Keep it short and lead with relevant information.
One of the most critical mistakes made on resumes is the use of passive, vague wording. Unfamiliar with writing resumes, many often resort to “responsible for” or “in charge of.” These are weak and overused terms. Instead, your resume should read in an active-voice where possible. This conveys that you are a self-starter and that you can connect the “why” with the “what” in your previous positions. This makes your experience more tangible and effective.
In the same way that a resume should be written in active voice, it should where possible, include specific accomplishments that you have achieved throughout your career. These may be financial, a special award or recognition, or simply an initiative for which you demonstrated leadership.
When you start using more active language and quantifiable achievements, you will see that your resume will be trimmed of “fluff” and this will give you a shorter and more concise, effective resume.
For example, see how we condensed the following and made it more quantifiable and effective:
The three bullets can easily be broken down to a more quantifiable and effective statement that’s sure to impress an employer. Once you make these changes to your resume, some of you will realize that you can fit most of your resume on one page.
If you’re someone with over 10 years of experience, or someone who’s held a few different positions at various companies, you may find this difficult. Remember, the important thing is the information on your resume and how relevant it is to the job.
There is no rule set in stone on how long your resume should be. What is more important is that the information on your resume be of importance and relativity to the position you seek.
Many job seekers think adding more words and experience makes them look like a better candidate. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. Keep your resume simple, relevant and professional.
Many of you will realize that after trimming down irrelevant information on your resume, you end up with one page.
We hope we helped you figure out how long a resume should be.