This seems to be one of the biggest concerns of job seekers out there—how long should my resume be? When developing a resume, people seem to get overly concerned and stuck on this question. We will endeavor to shed a little light on this topic and hopefully clear some confusion.
The One-Page Myth
You may have heard somewhere along the way that your resume needs to be no longer than one page. This is not necessarily true. Your resume needs to be long enough to provide hiring personnel or recruiters with all key information necessary to get your foot in the door for an interview. To achieve this, your resume may need to be one, two, or even three pages.
Recruiters and hiring managers don’t necessarily care about the length of your resume. They care about whether or not it is easily readable and that they can find your relevant information. So unless they specify the length your resume needs to be in the job posting, your resume should reflect the amount of experience and skills you have.
The Right Resume Length
If you’d like a rule of thumb for the appropriate length for your resume, remember that the length has to do with what is appropriate to you. What that means is your years of experience will ultimately determine the length of your resume. If you have less than five years of work experience, the general rule is that you should only need one page. More than five years, and you will likely need two pages. If you’ve had a long career, or have a lot of extra information you need to include like presentations, grants, and professional development courses, you may need three pages to list it all.
The problem with being stuck on the idea of having a one-page resume is that it can really hinder your ability to sell yourself. With such a space constraint put on you, you will have very little opportunity to list anything other than the ‘what’ of your education, work history, courses, etc. You won’t have the chance to showcase your accomplishments and the things that really sell your candidacy.
Use Your Space Wisely
On the flip-side, someone with three years of experience should not include every detail possible to end up with a three-page resume. No employer will want to sift through a document so long for a candidate that could easily condense it and, thereby, make a much stronger document. When developing your resume, you should consider how important each item you add to the document is to the position you are applying for. If it is not very relevant, consider leaving it off to make room for more important items.
Ultimately, you should not be overly concerned about page numbers. It is much better to have a two-page resume that is easily readable and clearly laid out than to have a one-page resume that has lots of information jammed into a confined space.
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