The Big Question: How Long Should My Resume Really Be?


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Many people find themselves wondering, how long should a resume be? At some point in time, the rumor that resumes should be one page spread across the nation. Nobody seems to know where this unspoken rule originated, but this is not necessarily true. Short resumes are no longer acceptable in today's competitive job market. The length of your resume truly depends on the situation.

For example, graduates and entry-level individuals generally have a one-page resume, due to their lack of experience in the working society. It is important not to stretch a resume just for link purposes. Many college career-counseling offices also inform students that their resume should not be longer than one page. If you have been in the job market while attending college, there is no reason you should not include any of those relevant experiences. If you are tempted to go for more than one page on your resume, be sure you have enough relevant information to have a just cause for the second page. This is especially true for individuals who have not been in the job market.

Individuals with over 10 years in the job market will find it virtually impossible to be restricted to a one-page resume. In this case, the more information given the better. According to Susan Whitcomb’s book Resume Magic, a survey taken in the top 100 companies to work for in the United States shows just 12% of participants believe a resume should be only one page. A higher 67% felt that resumes should be kept in two pages. 21% felt that the applicant should use as many pages as he or she deems necessary to display all qualifications for the position available.

For individuals seeking an executive position your resume should exceed two pages. There is an extreme amount of information that an employer needs in the decision-making process of an upper level position. Intangibles such as leadership, motivational skills, loyalty, vision, integrity, and the ability to keep up with the ever-changing market are important assets to an employer. The chief executive’s resume could go to as many as four or five pages. In today's cutthroat society it is just too risky to make a mistake in hiring a higher ranked employee, so make sure they know as much about you as possible. There is no room for error, so make sure you take your time on your resume. In this situation, a resume cannot be too long. An executive who restricts their resume to one or two pages is the first sign that they have been looking for work for quite some time.

If you have a one-page resume or a five-page resume, the importance of drawing the attention on the first page is a necessity. The fact is employers generally spend 2 1/2 to 20 seconds on each resume. So it is important to catch the employer’s eye as soon as possible. When ending a resume it is important for text to fill up at least a third of the page. If you must condense parts of your resume to avoid a short last page make sure you do not add filler to fill up the last page of your resume, as this will just dilute the importance of your information.

Whatever you do, don't make the employer need a magnifying glass to read your resume. I suggest no smaller than an 11-point font with spacey margins. Make sure you put spaces between your lines to make it easier to read and kind on the eyes. Companies at one point, wanted one-page resumes, but now prefer a clearly written and spacious resume. If your resume is two pages or more, make sure to use headers, page numbers and footers. This will allow employers to find what they are looking for at a glance with a well-organized resume. If you put your name close to the page numbers, it eliminates your resume being mixed up in the shuffle of several resumes. Do not repeat the same letterhead from page 1 on page 2 and 3, etc. Your name and page number is all that is needed, and it simplifies things for the employer.

© Career-Launch – specializes in effective and focused resume packages, written by industry certified professional writers. Career-Launch has written thousands of successful resumes to date for clients across a diverse range of industries and career choices. Any reproduction or reprint of this article must include this information.


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