How Long Should a Resume Be?

How Long Should a Resume Be?

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How long should a resume be: The one-page myth

According to a study that involved nearly 500 recruiters, hiring managers, and HR professionals and nearly 8,000 resumes, recruiters are 2.3 times as likely to prefer two-page resumes over one-page resumes, regardless of a candidate's years of experience. So, why the change in opinion? I think there are two factors to consider.

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How long should a resume be: The one-page myth

1. Graduates have more opportunities First, unlike the graduates of 10 or more years ago, today's young professionals are entering the “real” working world with more experience to boost their resumes and impress employers. From internships to co-ops to freelance gigs and even contract work, students

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How long should a resume be: The one-page myth

are encouraged to secure opportunities throughout their collegiate journey to help explore potential career paths, build their skills, and meet the one to three years' experience requirements that many “entry-level” jobs now demand.  They're also more likely to have personal blogs or online portfolios, group projects, volunteer work, leadership 

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How long should a resume be: The one-page myth

programs, and relevant campus activities to boost their resumes without adding any unnecessary fluff.

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How long should a resume be: The one-page myth

2. Hiring managers want clear career stories Second, a study by TopResume on professional vs self-written resumes found that employers value resumes that provide a strong career narrative. In other words, recruiters want to see more than merely a timeline of your professional and educational experience; they want to be able to read your 

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How long should a resume be: The one-page myth

resume like a story. In order to create that story, your resume requires additional components such as a professional summary, a section to list your relevant experience, skills etc. — all of which take up more space.

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But is the one-page resume dead?

Not exactly. While entry-level candidates should no longer feel pressured to cut their resumes down to one page, they should not try to stretch their resume to a two-page resume if it doesn't make sense. For example, if you recently graduated from college and did not participate in many of the resume boosters mentioned 

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But is the one-page resume dead?

above (e.g. internships, co-ops, volunteer work, extracurricular activities), then you likely won't have enough material to warrant a second page.  The last thing you want to do is add irrelevant details, include outdated information, or get creative with your format in order to extend your resume to a second page. That's a waste of your time and will not 

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But is the one-page resume dead?

impress employers. You're better off sticking with a one-page resume. So, if you're a recent college graduate, remove any references to your high school awards, scholarships, and extracurricular activities. Employers are more interested in the internships you completed, odd jobs you held, relevant experiences you 

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But is the one-page resume dead?

had, and activities you participated in on campus while pursuing your degree. In addition, if you're further along in your career and have decided to make a major career change, your resume may be reduced to only one page that highlights your transferable skills and parts of your experience that are relevant to this new job goal.

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How many pages should a resume be: the golden rule

If you have been in the workforce for a number of years, you're entitled to a maximum of two full pages of resume real estate. This rule applies to most senior professionals, whether you've been in the workforce for seven years or 27 years. The reality is that most recruiters spend less than 10 seconds reviewing a resume 

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How many pages should a resume be: the golden rule

before deciding whether the applicant should receive further consideration. With so little time to make the right impression, it's important to present a succinct document that highlights the recent — and more relevant — parts of your professional experience, skills, and education.

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Exceptions to the resume-length rules

While I strongly encourage you to limit yourself to a two-page resume, there will be instances where this is near impossible.  This often happens to professionals who have never-ending lists of technical skills and proficiencies, a large number of consulting gigs to explain, or a series of published works to include. If you fall into one of these categories, you 

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Exceptions to the resume-length rules

may need to use the first part of a third page. However, try to avoid this if possible since there is still a limit to how many pages a resume should be. There are three additional scenarios when your resume length is likely to exceed two standard 8.5" x 11" pages: – If you are looking for a job in academia or the sciences, your academic CV or resume

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Exceptions to the resume-length rules

should be more than two pages long. In fact, your resume could be up to 15 pages! – If you're applying for a job with the U.S. federal government, your federal resume might be 3–7 pages long in order to fit all the required information. – While an international CV — the type of document used to apply for positions in most 

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Exceptions to the resume-length rules

countries outside of the U.S. — should also be 1–2 pages long, the size of the paper is different. International CVs should be 1–2 pages of A4 (8.27” x 11.69”) paper, while resumes should be 1–2 pages of standard letter (8.5” x 11”) paper.

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How to make your resume fit the appropriate page length

In order to help you meet these resume-length tips, limit the amount of experience you include to the last 15 years and tailor your resume to a 15-year window.  Employers care most about the recent work you've been doing and how it ties back to their role's requirements, so place the emphasis of your resume on your current and relevant experience.

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How to make your resume fit the appropriate page length

There are a number of ways you can incorporate your earlier experience into the resume without spilling over into a third or fourth page.

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