One of the most common questions job seekers have is how long a resume should be. While most resumes end up being only a page or two long, some end up being three pages or longer. Those with a lot of experience or information often have trouble getting it down to a page or two.
So, is it okay to have a resume that’s three pages or longer?
It depends but generally no, a resume should almost never be more than two pages long.
A hiring manager only skims a resume for a few seconds before deciding to either look into it in more detail or send it to the rejection pile. You want to give them a resume that’s clean, concise and relevant. There is just no reason to take more than two pages to do that.
A long resume will often irritate a hiring manager and that usually kills any chance that they might consider you for a position.
When it’s Acceptable to Have a Resume Longer Than Three Pages
There are some fields that require a long resume due to the inclusion of research, publications and detailed projects. Those often involve people in science, medicine, academia and engineering.
Even then, it’s advisable to keep your resume at two pages unless you have relevant information the hiring manager would want to see.
So how can you cut your resume down to two pages? You need to remove irrelevant and outdated information. Here are some tips to trim your resume down to be more effective.
Keep it Relevant
One of the most common reasons job seekers have a resume that’s three pages or longer is the inclusion of irrelevant information. Don’t include a whole page on customer service positions you held 15 years ago if you’re applying for an accounting position. One of the keys to writing an effective resume is including information that’s relevant.
Your resume is basically a document that tells the employer why you’re a great match for that particular position – so make sure that’s what your resume does.
Your overall format, font and font size could also be a reason your resume goes onto a third page. Keep your font size at 12 and if you’re just going onto a third page, you may want to try another font. Some fonts take up more space so you could try playing around with a few to see what works.
We wrote an awesome list on the best fonts to use for your resume you may want to check out.
Keep Descriptions Clear and Concise
Another reason many go over the recommended resume length is because they include too much information for each position they held. Don’t use paragraphs when describing your work experience, use clear and concise bullet points. It’s recommended that you use 4-6 bullet points for each position.
As a general rule, your resume should only contain your work history for the last 10 years. Even if the information is relevant, you don’t really want to include positions you held over a decade ago.
No Resume Fluff
Okay, time to cut out the resume fluff that pisses so many hiring managers off. If you’re including phrases like “hard-working” or “team-player”, not only are you taking up valuable resume real estate, you’re probably pissing off the hiring manager. Keep your resume free of annoying buzzwords.
When deciding how long your resume should be, keep in mind that the hiring manager will only be looking at it for a few seconds. You want to capture their attention with clear, concise and relevant information. A resume that’s 3,4 or 5 pages will usually be a turn off to a hiring manager.
Good luck with your job search!