Question Proposed on LinkedIn: How Many Pages Should My Resume Be?
Is it still one page? Is it two? Does it matter anymore?
-About every 6 months this topic is regurgitated. “Experts” can make all kinds of guidelines that don’t fit everyone. But I’m a pragmatic type. In my opinion the proper length is the shortest resume that creates interviews! That simply means using good sense about what you include and how you include it. Get professional help if you want to avoid an extended search.
– Too much info can be confusing to the reader’s eye…I always tell my clients “anything over 2 pages is NOT a resume, it is a novel.
– I had a journalism professor when asked "how long should the paper be?” He would say, “As long as it takes.” The same hold true for resumes..within reason. As long as it takes to sell yourself but not overwhelm the employer.
– Not too long ago, there was a rule of thumb that your resume should not surpass one page. One page and that’s it. What you managed to scramble into this small space, you did. What you didn’t, had to go. That lead to many cases of font decreasing, margin narrowing, weird formatting and numerous other tricks that did less than a favor to applicants trying to stick to aforementioned rule.Thankfully, times of the golden rule of one-page-resume are behind us and not many hiring managers would see it as disadvantage if your resume is longer than one page.However, there are some situations where a one page resume is most appropriate, and I’m going to list them now:If you are a post-grad, one page resume is more than enough to list all accomplishments you made during your education. If you were a go-getter and have been extremely active in your extracurricular activities, sports and leadership, a second page in your resume wouldn’t be a sin, but only if you can fill it with relevant activities, awards and accomplishments and not with void phrases or irrelevant information.If you’re under or around the age of 30, one page should be enough to list all your educational and work highlights. It’s normal to have a couple of jobs till your thirties but one page should still be enough to list all the relevant information. In this case, the second page is not forbidden (especially if you’re a wunderkind who managed to have an extensive list of awards and accomplishments so early in the career), but beware of prolonging your resume just for the sake of the second page. Remember, the goal is to stay concise and focused, so you could keep attention of the hiring manager.If you are changing your career dramatically, from one field to something completely different, one page should be enough. In that case, your previous experience is not all that relevant to a new job you applied for. For example, it’s of little importance what you did as a truck driver if you are applying for the job as an account manager in the Bank.If you didn’t change jobs often, even if you are in your forties (even fifties) one page can be the correct format. Three or four different jobs can be put onto a single page.
– As an extreme opposite, there are three-pagers and longer resumes. Let’s name the most common uses of those mammoth resumes:If you are an executive, your path was long and filled with accomplishments. It’s ok to put it on three or more pages.If you are a medical doctor, your resume should be long enough to list all your experience. Don’t put limits to the length of your resume as long as your presentation is relevant and concise.If your career is an academic one, then feel free to put all your research, publications, conferences attended etc. into your resume. It’s good to know that there is another approach to this. It’s the idea of putting all aforementioned academic specifics into an appendix, as a separate document, and keeping the main resume on two pages.Creative careers also can have a huge list of references or a big portfolio. References can be included in the resume, but you should present your portfolio in a separate document or present it on the internet.
– In the end, keep in mind that there are no hard, unbreakable rules regarding resume length. I don’t know any hiring manager that would reject an excellent candidate on the basis of resume length. That’s because the quality of a concise and relevant expression of your career highlights is always more important than following some outdated rules on resume length.
– Be concise. Be precise. Don’t be redundant and spend more of the precious resume real estate than you have to. Remember, you’ve got only a couple of seconds to grab your future employer’s attention. Don’t waste it on irrelevant information.
– Respectively, always put the most important information in the first third or half of the first page. Make that HR Manager grab a sip of coffee in order to proceed with your stunning achievements.
– Do not, I repeat, do not add some irrelevant info only because you heard that two pages is a standard. Finely tuned one-pager filled with intense, straight to the point info can and will create a much better impression.
– On the other hand, if you find that your resume is becoming too long because you’re detailing your jobs from more than 15 years ago, stop it. For all jobs from more than 15 years ago write just the period of work, company name and job title. Nobody is interested in the details of your experience from 20 years ago.
– If you cannot fill two pages but only one and a half or so, you should reconsider shortening your resume to one page. It’s much more pleasing to the eye.
– Use bullets for lists formatting. It’s eye-catching, scannable and persuasive.
– Never, never, never decrease the font size to under 10 in your resume in order to make it one page shorter. That size of text is hard to read, demands concentration and adjusting of paper position in front of the readers’ eyes and you wouldn’t want to put your hiring manager in an uncomfortable position, would you?
– The same goes for playing with margins. Keep it normal and professional.
– If you find it hard to shrink your resume to desired amount of pages, remember that you can always put omitted parts on your LinkedIn profile and put a link to it in your contact details. Regarding that, never omit education, relevant and recent work experience, achievements and awards bullets from your resume. Things that you can move to LinkedIn are skills, hobbies and other less relevant info.
– Never make a shorter resume which doesn’t represent well your experience and qualities. Remember, it’s not a resume length contest, it’s a contest of quality of applicants.
– If your resume is longer then one page, be sure to include page numbers and your name in footer/header section. In case pages get separated, this can save the day.
– Never put description of one job to two pages. You should finish the field for one job at the end of a page and then start a description of the next older job on the next page. This way a hiring manager won’t have to flip pages back and forth to grasp what you wanted to say.
– I get this question all the time. My answer is pretty well the same as yours. I say long enough to sell you but not so long it gets boring. Save the details for the interview. Clear, concise and RELEVANT saves the day.