Some would say that there’s no standard resume length that works for everyone. After all, some people have more years of work experience, while others are just beginning their journey.
Determining how long a resume should be isn’t as easy as keeping it all on one page.
To help us uncover the critical factors needed to be considered when writing our resume, we asked experts to share their insights.
Executive Director, RSolutions (Holdings)
The digital era requires a fresh approach to understanding resumes, specifically length. This question is often debated, but sadly referenced from the perspective of opinion and not evidence.
I started tracking this question while researching the Career Development System (CDS) available by the Strategic Learning Alliance in 2009-2011, with a published report in 2013. This research has been further tested and vetted from 2016-2019 in preparation for their CDS revised system update in 2020.
Here is what I discovered:
1. Modern Resume
The modern resume developed in the CDS is a hybrid of the three “common” resumes of the Industrial Era. It has been evolved from evidence from over 1200 hiring professionals and thousands of data points (resumes).
A modern resume has a master version, ideally uploaded and stored in a LinkedIn account. LinkedIn reviewed recommendations of our research and in many ways has embraced the modern resume better than any other candidate application system.
2. Modern Resume (revised):
With modifications to the hiring systems, called Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS), a modern resume should be “focused” based on career experience and desired new job.
There is a very specific process to creating this type of resume but it yields up to 4x application response compared to a traditional recruiter or executive formats.
3. Recruiter vs Executive Format
The modern resume blends both. Using a recruiter version (heavy bullet point per role) versus the executive (core competencies described in paragraph form) is less effective than the modern method which relies on 3-5 sentence core competency supported with 3-5 specific bullet points per key position (not just role).
Therefore, balance your reliance on opinions shared – are they a recruiter? an HR manager? a consultant operating without evidence-based proof as a matter of professional opinion?
Research Findings: Facts, Tips, and Myths:
A 1 page is only necessary when networking in person or bringing a summary resume to an interview
In fact, it never yielded any interview outcomes at all compared to 2-7 page applications. Research shows that one page in the modern era may even hurt your application success using electronic (email-based) or ATS methods of application.
1 sheet is a bio to be handed out as a matter of convenience at career fairs, networking events (in person), and does not hold up despite that it’s the most often cited “length” by many recruiters (who tend to be the representatives at those events)!
2-3.5 pages for electronic submission
This is about right based on evidence for the majority of mid-career employees. However, this resume should be focused on the key role you are applying for using a very specific method outlined in the CDS.
Fewer pages can result in too high-level of an overview for the ATS screening, meaning a human never sees it because it lacked the ability to match keywords. Keep in mind, many ATS systems will cut off at a total number of words, too.
As such more pages can be a detriment when applying online, but in an interesting finding is shared below., Between 2017-2019 human recruiters and hiring managers opted for a longer (4-7 page CV format resume) being printed and provided to interviewers than a 1 or 2 page version (N=1500; i=25 ratio 2x more than m or r formats).
However, it should be noted that this was included as a secondary supplement to the primary resume used (which was always 2-3 pages based on modern resume standards in the CDS) that yields over 3x the resume views and interview requests of “traditional” resume.
Electronic Master: no length matters; the longer and more in-depth the better
Over 80% of recruiters rely on LinkedIn every day to search for talent. There are only 600M users compared to Facebook, Google, and other sites, so if you are not on LinkedIn, you are missing out.
Use the sections of LinkedIn to elaborate on not just official positions but roles within the position that may further articulate your unique experience. The length does not matter because the scanning systems and predictive analytics compare key words not length of LinkedIn.
Related: LinkedIn Headline Advice & Examples for Job Seekers
Use the electronic modern resume to then “focus” mini 2-3 page resumes based on the type of industry, career, and role you seek. The CDS program gives considerable facts, tips, myths supported by research.
It has been accredited for academic programs (undergraduate and graduate levels) and endorsed based on outcomes by Federal agencies. It’s well worth it to get the facts first and be leery of single professional opinion.
Remember, when applying for a job your resume must pass the electronic screening (ATS) a recruiters quick (45 second review, meaning they look specifically at titles, roles, and key performance indicators) as well as a hiring manager who will look for deeper level core-competencies.
Timothy G. Wiedman, D.B.A., PHR Emeritus
Associate Prof. of Management & Human Resources (Retired)
Since a resume is basically a condensation of a candidate’s background (at least as it relates to a specific vacant position), the proper length of a resume depends on what an applicant can “bring to the table” in terms of his or her education, work experience, aptitude, training, skills, certifications, interests, and aspirations that employers might find valuable when filling a particular vacancy.
Thus, an applicant with extensive education and training who’d worked in related jobs for twenty years would have a longer resume than a fairly recent graduate with three years of work experience.
The appropriate length depends upon the relevant background that a candidate brings to an employer who has a vacancy to fill
However, having said that, as a hiring manager who’d screened nearly two thousand resumes, I welcomed resumes that had two primary characteristics:
- A thorough record of a candidate’s relevant job-related background.
- Brevity in the presentation of that record (given the extent of their background).
And those two characteristics need not be at odds with one another. Use of a “bullet format” format, for example, can provide screeners a good deal of information in a fairly limited amount of space.
Candidates should keep in mind that the purpose of their resume is to provide enough information to pique the interest of the screeners and not to tell the story of their lives!
For a great many vacancies, screeners generally want a “big picture” overview of the candidates that they bring in for face-to-face interviews; while more detailed questions can be addressed during the interview process itself.
Since I usually hired “lower-level” employees, wordy, elaborate, multi-page resumes drove me nuts (and I must confess that after plowing through three or four pages of dense prose, my eyes often glazed over).
So my general advice is: Keep your resume as short as possible! Folks with significant experience will obviously have longer resumes than recent grads; but if you go beyond two pages, you risk alienating screeners.
CEO & President, Professional Alternatives
The short answer is that it depends on a couple of different factors. However, our general rule of thumb is to keep it as short as possible but as long as it needs to be to thoroughly, yet concisely, communicate a candidate’s experience.
For most job seekers, we recommend the following lengths, depending on their experience:
- Recent college graduate: 1 page
- 1-3 years of experience: 1 to 1.5 pages
- 3-10 years of experience: 1 to 2 pages
- 10+ years of experience: 1.5 to 3 pages
With this said, please keep in mind that the lengths above should be used as a guide, as every job seeker’s situation varies.
A common follow up question that we also often get is, “Can my resume be too long?”, to which the answer is yes.
Very rarely do resumes need to go beyond three pages, as there little value-added once you pass three pages. A resume is not intended to serve as a complete summary of the candidate’s work history. Rather, it’s intended to highlight the person’s career and education, with a focus on the pieces most relevant to the role to which they’re applying.
Director of Recruitment, TalentLab
There is no ‘one size fits all’ when it comes to resumes. If you want to create a successful resume, you must tailor it to your own unique circumstances. The length of total work experience, industry, employment durations, and complexity of past roles should all factor into the length of your resume.
Some guides will advise one single page but it’s better to focus on keeping content relevant more than it is to focus on a certain length
Relevant content should focus on the high-level basics like who, when, how, and why for each significant career milestone. Resumes are not meant to convey the whole picture, but enough to entice the reader into asking for an interview or a follow-up call.
The more the reader is bogged down in unnecessary details, the higher the chance they will be inattentive to the key info you want to draw attention to.
If you are struggling to determine what is relevant, consider asking why an employer should care about that detail?
If a good answer doesn’t immediately come to mind, then it doesn’t belong on your resume. For starters, avoid biographical details, unnecessary background information, and to rigorously vet each bullet point to make sure it will matter to a potential employer.
Consider the equally important questions of who will be reading your resume, and what are they expecting to see?
Understanding your audience is key to gauging an appropriate resume length. If you are applying directly to a web posting or through a corporate website, your resume will likely go to someone in HR first who isn’t as well versed in the specifics of the role and will be hiring across business units and complex skill sets.
You also might be one of the hundreds applying from all over the world. You will benefit from keeping your resume short in these situations with lots of job-related keywords highlighted, as you need to stand out quickly and make it easy for someone in HR to determine your skill level amongst a larger volume of resumes.
If you have received a referral from a colleague or are working with a headhunter, then it’s likely your resume will go directly to the hiring manager. In this case, the hiring manager should be well versed in your specific skills and will have a shortlist of the top candidate resumes.
A longer resume with more detailed accounts of past career milestones could help validate the referral and drive home your overall fit level. It’s strategic in these situations to talk with your contact or referee to get a deeper understanding of the role and ensure you spend the time to highlight your corresponding competencies.
Again there is no ‘right length’ for a resume because like the people they represent, each is a unique mix of variables.
Candidates that take a thoughtful approach and create bespoke resumes that make sense for their specific seniority, industry, and audience will be more successful in their careers.
Charlene Walters, MBA, Ph.D.
Writer | Speaker | Business & Branding Mentor | Author of, Own Your Other
Your resume should be long enough to tell your story; the story of your employment history, strengths, and skills
It’s entirely possible to craft this professional summary succinctly, keeping it to one page (if you have more experience, however, it’s okay to spill over into two pages).
The key with any resume is to highlight the important stuff and omit information that isn’t.
Showcase your talents and those details that bring the most value to potential employers. You might also have more than one version of your resume if you are aiming at two different audiences.
If you’re trying to break into a new field, one which you don’t have any expertise in, don’t despair. You can bridge the gap for the hiring manager by highlighting those transferable soft skills that will enable you to excel in any new position. It’s your responsibility, as both the job candidate and resume writer, to paint that picture for your potential employer.
Related: How to Get an Entry-Level Job with No Qualifications or Experience
If you feel like you’re still lacking something in terms of competitive advantage, go out there and get a certificate or additional credential. Why not? It can only be to your benefit.
When writing a resume, just remember to be authentic, honest and to focus on your strengths and talents. The perfect job won’t be far behind.
Dawn D. Boyer, Ph.D.
CEO, D. Boyer Consulting |
Author, Human Resource Professionals in Government Contracting Guidebook
The 20th Century advice that a resume should only be one or two pages is no longer valid
It’s great if you can get all your valuable information across in one page or two pages, but that would ‘cheat’ you – the job seeker – if you compiled a tiny fonts and tiny margins document to cram 10-15 years of experience into two pages, when you can make it much easier to read in three pages with larger margins and white space.
Here’s the deal, since the Fed government has mandated that all applicants for all jobs applied for must be documented, companies have moved to Automatic Tracking Systems (ATS) and thus forces job applicants to upload resumes, enter data, and track any EEO data offered by the job seeker as part of the reporting and AAP statistics.
Also, recruiters have moved to query for the applicant pool for specific keywords and phrases that will match the open job description. Thus, they don’t care if the resume is 4, 5, or 6 pages long if the keywords are in it, and they can see enough information on the first page (top) to incite continued reading.
If they find what they are looking for in the first few pages, great – give the applicant a call or push the resume to a hiring manager for interviews.
Recruiters who toss a resume because it’s over two pages are also cheating themselves and their employer – that unique job skills or training on the third page of an applicant resume may be exactly what they are needing.
Founder, Resumes That Shine
Most of us should use one or two-page resumes and there are a few cases where three-page resumes may be appropriate
Recent college grads and other entry-level and early-career job candidates will, in my opinion, find one-page resumes most effective.
Prospective employers will not read long lists of college courses, term projects, and campus activities. They are interested in professional-level core competencies you developed through internships, jobs and sometimes capstone projects.
You should bullet-point either quantifiable achievements or takeaways from these activities. You may have the opportunity later in the process to submit transcripts and writing samples.
I sometimes see resumes from job candidates with just a few years of experience that take up two or move pages because they are filled with lengthy job descriptions. Lengthy job descriptions are not needed. Employers know them.
Employers know your job description but they do not know what you contributed to the job. I suggest writing a one, two or three-sentence job description paragraph, then three bullet-pointed “key accomplishments” including quantified results.
Related: How to Write a Resume for the First Time
More seasoned professionals can use two-page resumes.
Few people review resumes on paper so the “one-page rule” is gone. Limit your work experience to jobs that started 10 years ago or less to make this work. Employers cannot verify experience older than this and the skill-set has probably changed anyway.
C-level executives and some senior IT experts may consider three page resumes.
You may consider a lengthy resume if 20 years of leadership experience is relevant to your current industry.
Consider alternatives, though, such as moving very dense and detailed technical or financial accomplishments to the LinkedIn profile or to a more detailed resume you submit after the interview. The shortest resume that includes relevant achievements will work.
Dr. Sandi Webster
Founder and COO, Consultants 2 Go | Co-Founder and Chief Learning Officer, Pandi, LLC
Under the old paradigm, the “experts” say a resume should not be longer than 1 page and not more than 2 pages. I think that was a good answer when humans used to review resumes
However, most companies now have a very robust resume database with thousands of resumes. It’s impossible for humans to review every resume to find the right candidate. They have very sophisticated applications, some utilizing AI, that can hone in on keywords in seconds regardless of how long the resume. That resume only gets to a human talent agent after several initial screenings.
I like a longer resume for a few reasons
If you are/were a consultant, similar to my employees, you should have acquired a vast array of knowledge from different assignments. It would be impossible to consolidate all that information into one-two pages.
Similarly, this is a very transient workforce where people stay brief periods of time to learn a job and move on. Therefore, the average person has numerous jobs over time.
A longer resume allows the applicant to give more details, including examples of projects and the results they acquired.
When that information has to be concise, it also loses some of what made the work, or the applicant, good at what they do.
If an applicant gives me a very targeted resume, I have no idea what else they can do outside of the scope of the advertised job.
Years ago, a lengthy resume was looked at as a negative…the person was flighty jumping from job to job – who does that? Now, millennials do not want to be tied down too long on a job. They are there to learn and to parlay that learning into future brighter opportunities.
I have the same bias for older workers. If someone is over 50 years old and submits a 1-pager resume, I start punching holes into why it’s only one page. Were they at one job for over 25 years? That makes sense. Were they in one job for their entire career? Well, they must be an expert now.
Paul Walsh, FIA, FSAI, LLB
CEO, Acumen Resources
The golden rule is to keep things succinct and don’t waffle or try to fill the page with unnecessary information
Hiring managers are busy people, and your resume may be one of many that are being viewed for short-listing. If your resume doesn’t convey your suitability for the job with ease, then you risk it ending up on the “no” pile from the very start.
Not sure how you can whittle it down? Common sense is your main ally here. Put yourself in the shoes of the person on the other side. Do they really want to know about the bar job you worked 10 years ago before starting your professional career?
Have you listed skills irrelevant to the job you are applying for?
If so, then you need to edit and cut, cut, cut! There is a temptation to include as much as possible to highlight how wonderful you are. Keep in mind, however, that adding more information will dilute the other content. Keeping this in mind will help you decide what experience and skills you should include and how much detail you should also go into.
With all that said, there are some norms to follow and keep in mind. Resumes one or two pages long and occasionally longer. If you are applying for a very junior position with little experience required, then it is likely to be shorter.
Also, consider the job description.
For example, if the description asks for 5 years of experience, then it would make sense to highlight your last relevant 5 years of experience. Once you have completed your resume go back over and check it for not only clarity but also formatting, grammar, and consistency.
Director of Career Services, Delaware Valley University
The resume should be as long as the audience—your industry or profession—deems as standard
This means your “resume” may be a 10-page document in some cases or a virtual online portfolio in others. The key with resume length is that there is no magic bullet answer other than truly understanding your industry’s culture and tailoring your resume to meet the standard expectations.
Examples of this very situation might include an individual applying to both private sector positions and federal employment. The same individual would tailor the resume for each opportunity, making no less than a three-page resume with very detailed information for the federal position, while shortening to one to two pages for most private-sector positions.
To determine proper length, it is incredibly helpful to speak with individuals in the field if not the organization itself, to learn about expectations.
Professional Career Advisor | Speaker | Owner, LBD Careers, LLC
A resume is a marketing document and is designed to demonstrate your best skill sets. Because of this, the experience that you have more than 8-10 years ago isn’t as relevant as your recent experience and the focus should be on your skills, rather than on job duties.
Another thing — recruiters and hiring managers spend little time on your resume. They need to be able to determine you are qualified within a 6-15 second time period.
The most important part of your resume is a tailored summary of qualifications.
Nailing this section can be tricky, but it really helps! Professionally written resumes are reviewed only 7% more of the time, but resumes, where someone can not find your relevant skills quickly, is useless.
Career Coach | Director, RedCrest Careers
Recruiters receive around 200 resumes for every position. Therefore they usually have less than 30 seconds to look through a resume.
Resumes should therefore not be longer than 2 pages
This is as true for an entry-level role as it is for someone applying to a C-Level role. You can shorten your resume by putting your most recent, relevant experience at the top, and then simply leaving out anything that is not relevant to the role you are applying for.
If you are applying to a senior role, things like graduate education only require a line near the bottom of your resume.
This does mean that you need to customize your resume for every application. Although these individual customizations take time, it should make your applications more effective, therefore leading to a more efficient job hunt overall.
President and CEO, Executive Talent Services
My first and most general answer is the resume should be only as long as it takes to tell the right and compelling story of your background and qualifications.
I don’t think resumes should be longer than two pages, which is fairly standard for people with substantial experience
Even so, it needs to be concise, lack fluff and speak to real accomplishments, that is, results achieved on jobs, not just activities engaged in.
Rather than an activity statement like “Developed a program designed to reduce spending on vendors”, if we have enough specifics, it can be turned into “Reduced overall vendor expenses 40% in one year by developing…”
Those kinds of statements are far more powerful. After all, the common language between employers and across industries is the problems they share (e.g. costs, employee productivity, customer satisfaction, competition).
To the extent, your resume can show having successfully addressed common problems, you have a powerful resume. For people with much less experience, a one-page resume might do but whether one or two pages, the content is critically important.
Allie Waite, SPHR
Senior HR Professional | Founder, Engage People Ops
I’ve had the opportunity to review at thousands of resumes over the course of my career, and in my opinion, the answer to your question is pretty straightforward. Unless you have 10+ years of experience relevant to the industry or job you are applying for, your resume should be no longer than one page.
That being said, in some instances, certain individuals or positions may have a number of certifications and additional training vital to the resume that may push it to the second page.
Except in the case of an Executive or Senior leadership position, no resume should be over two pages in length
Additionally, I believe one of the biggest misconceptions candidates have is that every position since high school or college needs to be included on the resume.
Much like a cover letter, each time you apply to a new position, you should review your resume to make sure what you include is relevant to the role you are applying for.
For example, if I were applying for a role as an HR Manager at a software company, the details of my resume would be very different than if I were to apply for an Employee Relations Consultant at a manufacturing company.
Tailoring your resume to show how you are qualified for the role will naturally shorten it, and recruiters will appreciate being able to quickly identify your relevant experience.
Career and Leadership Coach, The Big Game Hunter | Podcast Host, No BS Job Search Advice Radio
- If you are a recent grad with experience and internships obtained while in school, a one-page resume is sufficient.
- For someone with more experience including managers, two pages are enough to address the key points of your background with an emphasis on the last 10 years.
- If you are more senior than that and need to go a little bit deeper, 2.5 pages are the maximum, again, with an emphasis on the past 10 years.
- For the more senior individual, publications, interviews, awards and the like can be used in the remaining half page.
No one cares what you did when either President Bush was in office. You may have been interesting work then but it is unlikely to be interesting work to anyone hiring you now. There are exceptions but they are few and far in between.
Co-Founder, Market Recruitment
I would always think of the question by asking how long does someone takes to read my CV? And, perhaps surprisingly for some job seekers, most companies read your CV in less than 30 seconds.
So with that in mind, I’d create a CV that helps them read it easily which will mean you’re more likely to make it to the interview pile.
Any more than three pages and you risk losing the hiring managers’ attention when they read it
Now, you might then say, how can I get it down to three pages, I’ve got over 20 years experience. And that s a very good question. The reality here is that you’re very unlikely to get a job based on what you did more than 10 years ago, maybe even less than that. So on the first two pages of your CV, I’d follow this structure:
- Summary: Discussing what you can do for a potential employer and not what you want.
- Key skills in a bullet format: You want this to jump out and be super easy to read and it must match the job you’re applying to.
- Career experience: Go into detail about your last three roles – what the company does, your overall responsibility, what you did day to day and then your achievements. These are the roles that will dictate your next job so use the majority of your CV to describe them.
- Any roles that you did more than 10 years ago should just be a line or two. Doing this will help bring it under three pages.
- Education / Interests
The key with a CV is to focus on what the company wants to see. It shouldn’t be a document with everything about you, but rather a concise marketing document to position you as a solution to what the hiring company needs.
Related: How to Make Your Resume Stand Out
Owner, CV Nation
As a rule of thumb, a resume should be two-pages long
Those with less experience can opt for a one-page resume, which can be powerful. But in most cases, there isn’t usually enough space to effectively articulate your experiences and skills.
While you should aim for a two-page resume, you should never exceed three pages. Some recruiters won’t accept resumes over a certain page length, so it’s important to identify the key information and trim your resume down.
Of course, resume length varies in different industries. For example, resumes for acting roles should always be one-page long. it’s important to understand the industry you are writing your resume for.
President, The Career Coach.org, LLC
There are many opinions about this, on the side of the applicant as well as the HR/Recruiter side.
The answer is always to make the resume as concise as possible
The length of your resume should be in direct proportion to your experience, skills, and accomplishments:
- A one-page resume works well for recent college graduates with an internship or two, and maybe a first job.
- When one’s career stretches beyond that, a two-page resume (once in a while three-page resume) if well written, is perfectly appropriate.
Partner & Co-Founder, HealthSearch Partners
A good rule of thumb is a 1 page to a page and a ¼ for every 10 years in the workforce
The old advice we all got from the college career center was that a resume needed to be one page. Well, that couldn’t be more wrong!
That works right out of college but that’s it. I’ve seen professionals with 20 years’ experience and 5 jobs that try and cram it all on one page using 4 point font that you can barely read with a microscope!
Interview Coach | Executive Resume Writer, Career Impressions
Ultimately a resume should be as long or as short as it needs to be to convince the reader that you are qualified for their open position, in a concise manner – and not one word more.
Being concise often confuses job seekers. Does concise mean one page or are three pages ok? That answer is: it depends. Your career background, level of expertise, and related career details should all be factored into a resume strategy to determine appropriate length.
Aim for two pages if you have at least five years of work experience. For very senior professionals, three pages might be useful
Resume length alone does not determine effectiveness. Great content is required to compel a reader into reading it. Regardless of length, if the person reading the resume decides you’re not a match for the job, he or she will stop reading it. But if you fit job requirements and share well-aligned details, that person will want to know more and will keep reading regardless of length.
Partner at Accounting & Finance Division, WinterWyman
All recruiters have their opinions about the “perfect resume length.”
As a job seeker, you need to do what feels right to you and is appropriate for your experience level
If you have 15 years of experience and your resume is only a page long, chances are you are underselling yourself; you are likely omitting crucial information that can make a hiring manager pass you by.
On the other hand, a one-page resume works for someone with five or fewer years of experience, or for someone who has only had a couple of jobs in their lifetime.
An ideal length of your resume will ultimately depend on where you’re at in your career, the type of job you’re applying to, and what exactly the hiring manager is looking for.
You need to tailor your resume to the job you want without dragging things out. The main objective of your resume is to get you the interview. As such, you need to sell as succinctly as possible on paper to leave them wanting more thus inviting you for an interview.
If you’re starting out in your career, with no more than 5 years of experience, your resume should be 1 page long
You want to highlight the most recent and most relevant experience you’ve achieved thus far in your career, and that should only take one page.
If you’re mid-level and up, with at least 5 years of experience, you can get away with 2-3 pages
The first page with your most relevant experience will ultimately be the most important, with the extra page or two after that supplementing your credibility. I, alongside some of my other recruiter colleagues, have actually turned down candidates for senior-level jobs because their resumes were too short.
If you want to be considered for a more senior role, especially if you’ll be managing others, be sure to spell out the results you have obtained in similar roles before.
Career Expert, Zety
Deciding on a length of a resume can be a tricky thing. You send a two-page resume and a hiring manager will not have the time and energy to read it. You send a one-page resume, the manager assumes you lack experience. In both cases, your resume may end up in a discard pile.
A one-page resume length is absolutely acceptable for all entry-level workers and those with less than 5 years of experience while seasoned employees should aim for a 2-page resume length to reflect their work experience.
What’s actually more important here, is how the resume is written. Power words and job position-related keywords in a resume would be key here. Most hiring managers in an era of AI use ATS tests to filter the most relevant resumes. In such cases, the length of a resume pays a smaller role here.
I often consider resumes longer than one page but only if it’s reasoned with relevant information and the resume’s formatting, structure and writing style does not make me want to hit “delete” after I glance at it.
Career and Life Purpose Coach, Live Life Purpose
The length of your resume should reflect your professional experience– up to a point
If you’re in your early twenties and have only had a couple of jobs, it’s expected that your resume will be only one page. If you’re more experienced, a resume can be two pages at most.
Because the average hiring manager spends less than 2 minutes per resume, with 1 in 6 spending less than 30 seconds, it’s important to get your points across quickly and efficiently.
Even if you’re an executive-level employee with 30 years of experience, you do not need to list every role you’ve ever held. Rather, go back up to 15 years. This will help avoid age discrimination as well as jobs that are simply not relevant to the role you want.
In rare cases, you can go longer than two pages, if you are going for the highest roles in a company and must show that you have the depth and breadth of experience needed to be a CEO, for example.
The other situation requiring a longer resume is for a role in academia that requires proof of publications, fellowships, or grants awarded. An academic resume can go as long as 15 pages.
Helen Godfrey, MA, NCC, BCC, LPC
Career Coach | Owner, The Authentic Path
Generally speaking, most employers like a 1-page resume. If you have a master’s degree or extensive experience relevant to the job you are currently seeking, you can typically have a 2-page resume.
Government jobs, as well as academic positions, typically prefer more extensive and in-depth resumes so the length is more flexible. If you are applying for jobs in Europe, they too prefer a longer, more detailed resume (c.v.).
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is the 30-Second Rule for Resumes?
The 30-second rule is a crucial concept to keep in mind when crafting your resume. It’s all about making a strong first impression in the shortest amount of time and leaving a lasting impression on the reader.
Here’s the idea behind it: When a hiring manager or recruiter receives a stack of resumes, they usually only skim up to 30 seconds before deciding whether to read on or move on to the next one.
So your goal is to ensure your resume stands out in that short time and effectively showcases your qualifications, skills, and accomplishments.
Should I Include References on My Resume?
The question of whether you should include references on your resume is a controversial one. Some think they’re a good idea, and others think they’re unnecessary. So, what’s the verdict? Here are a few things you should consider:
• Most employers expect to see something other than references on your resume. They usually only look at them later in the hiring process.
This means that providing references on your resume takes away valuable space that could be used to highlight your skills, experience, and qualifications.
• Providing references too soon can be a red flag for some employers. They might take this as a sign that you lack confidence in your own qualifications and rely on others to speak for you.
However, if you’ve worked with high-profile people or organizations, mentioning their names on your resume can add credibility to your application. But even then, it’s probably better to wait until you’ve had a chance to make a strong impression on the employer.
• Lastly, asking your references for permission before including their names on your resume is always a good idea. Only some people feel comfortable being listed as a reference, so respecting their wishes is important.
All in all, it’s probably best to hold off on including references on your resume. Instead, you can simply state that references are available upon request. This will show that you’re willing to provide them, but you’ll also save valuable space for the most important information on your resume.
How Many Jobs Are Too Many on a Resume?
When it comes to listing jobs on a resume, the answer is more complex. It depends on several factors, such as your experience, the relevance of each job to your current career goals, and how long each job lasted.
Here are some guidelines to help you:
• If you have less than ten years of work experience, you should limit your resume to your last 3 to 5 jobs. That way, you can go into detail about your most recent experience, which will likely be most relevant to your current career goals.
• If you have ten or more years of experience, you can list up to 7-8 jobs. However, you should limit yourself to your most relevant experiences and only briefly mention your previous jobs.
• If you’ve had multiple short-term jobs, you might want to consider consolidating them into a single bullet point, so your resume doesn’t look like you jumped from job to position.
The most important thing is that your resume accurately reflects your skills, experience, and accomplishments and clarifies why you’re the right candidate for the job.
And remember that a resume isn’t just a list of your jobs but the story of your career path. So be sure to highlight the most important aspects of your experience and what you have learned along the way.
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