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How Long Should Your Resume Be?


For every HR director out there in the professional world recruiting talent for their businesses, there are probably just as many opinions on what the perfect resume looks like. Resumes have evolved somewhat over recent years as technology has evolved. However, one of the topics still up for discussion is the appropriate length of a resume.

There are those with the adamant opinion a resume should never exceed one page. Then there are those who maintain that when it comes to resumes, there are no rules. If you’re the aspiring professional composing your resume and trying to land your dream job, it can be overwhelming and confusing. We’ve done some research for you and are here to break down the basics.

THE CASE FOR BREVITY

We live in the age of Twitter. If social media has taught us anything, it’s that readers are looking for quality, not quantity. When a company is hiring, they most likely have a large stack of resumes they’re sorting through. They’re not particularly impressed with length. They’re looking for something to grab their attention. So, forget the idea that multiple pages are more impressive.

Sticking to one page is particularly encouraged when you’ve had less than 10 years experience overall or you’re pursuing a change in career direction and your past experience is irrelevant to your new goal.

THE SECOND PAGE AND BEYOND

Admittedly, after many years in an industry, it can be hard to condense all of your accomplishments to one page. Additional pages should only be added if you’ve had over a decade of experience pertaining to the job for which you’re applying. There are also a few industries where the technical skills required could merit multiple pages (i.e. engineers). Senior-level management and executives or academics who have been published multiple times could probably also use a little extra space to better display their accomplishments.

OTHER OPTIONS

The beauty of Microsoft Word is that margins can be shifted and fonts can be reduced. You can do many things stylistically to create more space in a one-page resume. Also consider your wording to make sure none of your points is repetitive. The more excess space you can remove, the better.

Also, consider the fact that you can use your physical resume as a spring board to your LinkedIn account or personal website. If there are some points you just can’t seem to fit on your physical resume, reference your LinkedIn in your resume and give your potential employer an opportunity to learn even more about your accomplishments.

Every professional situation varies, but overall these general guidelines are what the experts seem to agree on. For more advice, you can check our more resources here, here, and here.