When it comes to resume length, there is a lot of conflicting information online. While having a one-page resume is often considered the standard, this can be impossible for people who have several jobs, accomplishments, or activities to add. The problem is that it is easy to include too much information, turning your resume into a lengthy five-page document that is difficult for employers to read.
Here is a quick guide to making the perfect size resume:
One Page Resume Tips
If you have more than 15 years of experience, a one-page resume may not be for you. Usually, only entry-level candidates stick to one-page resumes. While this can apply to any level professional who doesn’t have enough information, experienced professionals are also sticking to the one-page format whenever possible.
The goal is to create a strong career narrative without all the fluff. Some entry-level candidates will not be able to use a one-page format because they have contract work, freelance experience, volunteer work, group projects, and portfolios that need to be included on their resumes. Recruiters tend to prefer candidates with two-page resumes that have lots of activities related to their career over those that have a one-page resume and exclude everything.
Staying Within the Ideal Resume Length
This doesn’t mean that the one-page resume is a dying trend. While you shouldn’t feel pressured to use a single-page resume, you shouldn’t stretch your resume out just to make it two-pages. A second page should only be added if you can fill it up 75% of the way. The last thing you want is a ton of white space on your second page.
Including outdated or irrelevant information just to make a second page will not help you get a job. Stick to what’s relevant and what’s going to make you stand out from the competition. If you aren’t sure what should be included, turn to a resume writer to help guide you through the process.
A one-page resume can also be useful if you are changing careers and want people to quickly see your transferable skills. Irrelevant information can easily be condensed to better highlight your capabilities in the new field.
The Maximum Length of a Resume
In almost every case, the longest your resume should be is two pages. Most recruiters look at resumes for less than 10 seconds, so you need something that can catch their eye in a short amount of time. Having a long resume does not necessarily mean that a recruiter will spend more time reading it. If you are having trouble sticking to two pages, think about what the most relevant information on your resume is and cut out the rest.
Remember, your resume is meant to be a brief overview of your career. It isn’t there for you to list every single detail about what you did in your career. Stick to the highlights. You can go into more detail about what else you did during your interview.
Resume Length: Violating the Two-Page Rule
Over the years, I have worked with quite a few individuals who came to my with a 5+ page resume right from the start. In fact, one was 26 pages when we first started working together. I will be honest with you. No one is going to weed through 26 pages of information. Heck, getting someone to read through even 5+ pages will be a challenge.
There are very few exceptions to the two-page rule. This usually happens with technical positions, academic roles, and where a large number of crucial consulting gigs or projects need to be on the resume. Keep in mind that International CVs, Academic, and Federal resume formats will almost always be over two pages, but that doesn’t mean they should be 26 pages either. There has to be a balance, or else, you will lose the interest of the reader, which is the last thing you want.
There is no hard and fast rule to resume length. Every situation is unique and depends on your individual background and skill set. Because of this, you need to spend time working with a resume writer who can guide you along the way.
If you are having trouble getting your resume length in line with today’s standards, please contact me today. I am happy to help show you what information should and should not be included on your career documents.