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Regardless of how or where it started, someone came up with the suggestion that the ideal resume length should only have one page. This is mainly because a single-page resume length keeps your information short and concise since recruiters have to read a lot of incoming applications.
For some advisors, resumes with more than one page were either a waste of time or doomed to fail. The longer the length of a resume is, the more likely it may be turned down.
Candidates today break this rule often and get away with it.
So you are asking yourself, "how long is a resume supposed to be?"
It’s not only about how many pages your resume should be, but more about the content quality and readability. Recruiters will toss a resume into the bin if it’s not easy to read or contains unnecessary information, regardless of resume length.
You may have heard the phrase "quality over quantity", right?
The same applies to resume length. Content quality means to be concise and on point, thus a resume should be kept short. Nonetheless, deciding on what is the ideal length of a resume depends on your current background and other factors. A 2-page resume may suit you more if you have solid experience. The following guide will cover all you have to know to have the ideal length for your resume.
How Long Should a Resume Be?
The general rule for resume length is 1-2 pages, so having 2 pages is fine. There are exceptions, so you may ask: “how long should my resume be?” It all relies on your background history and how you have gathered your experience to this point.
The resume length can be a single page, two pages or even more under the right circumstances. There is no “one-size-fits-all” length, so the ideal resume length depends on your past experience.
A one-page resume is the most generally accepted length. Recruiters often have to read tons of resumes so the briefer is almost always the better.
It is okay to have a single page resume if:
- You are a recent graduate with limited experience regarding your target job.
- You are changing careers and your previous experience is not relevant to your new industry.
- You have less than 10 years of professional experience or less than four employers.
Take a look at these pros and cons of a one-page resume:
One-page resume length is easy and quick to read, and more likely employers will take a closer look at every content as it is short. The shorter and concise it is, the less probability of putting unnecessary and filler words in your resume. All these reasons show why many consider a single page is the ideal resume length.
Despite a one-page resume length being considered ideal, it can work against individuals who may have additional strengths and qualifications employers would be interested in. A one-page resume length may not display them since you are limited to a single page.
Sometimes, when people have a bunch of experiences and skills that are relevant to the job, a one-page resume is not enough space. So, it is okay to have a 2-page resume if:
- You have more than 10 years of professional experience in your field.
- Your job requires technical or industry-specific skills and varying qualifications that not all candidates have.
- You are in a high management position with tons of responsibilities.
- You are a recent graduate with various internships, summer jobs, or extracurricular activities that could be tied to the job you aspire to.
- You are in a field that requires demonstration of achievement and specialized training, such as publishing and licensing.
Take a look at these pros and cons of a two-page resume:
Many consider a 2-page resume as a standard length that is capable of including relevant work history, skills, and keywords. Furthermore, resumes that are longer than one page can include more details about your career development.
A resume length that goes beyond a single page could be considered full of content employers are not looking for, especially if the length of your resume is longer than 2 pages.
💡 Reminder: Recruiters will read your resume once it passes the ATS. Applicant Tracking System (ATS) is a software tool companies use to screen job applicants. If your resume length is longer than a single page, you can include more keywords from the job listing in order to pass the ATS.
How many pages long should a resume be?
The best length for your resume depends on your current status as a professional. Take a closer look at the following chart and ask yourself: “Which resume length suits you best?”
|This resume length suits the following professionals:|
✨ Job freshers and/or recent graduates.
✨ Entry-level candidates.
✨ Career changers, especially if past experience is not relevant.
|A resume length of two pages suits individuals who:|
✨ Have solid experience and skills.
✨ Your relevant qualifications are able to reach 1½ pages.
|Three-page (or longer) Resume|
|While it is recommended to not exceed 2 pages, you can still have a resume with a length of 3 (or more) pages if:|
✨ You can include a project list, required by employers.
✨ You are applying for a scientific or academic position.
✨ You are making a federal resume.
How to Keep Your Resume in the Right Length
Keeping your resume in the right length can be one of the most difficult part in making a resume, so here are some techniques to maintain a resume in the right length:
💡 Keep role descriptions within 3-5 bullet points.
Bullet points for each position you have been in the past should be on point showing duties and responsibilities, as well as achievements. Furthermore, you can combine it into a single statement so you do not go over 5 bullet points so your resume length is right.
💡 Only list experiences and skills relevant to the position.
Having the right resume length consists in leaving out unnecessary information. Skills and experiences that are not relevant as this not only works against the length of your resume but also employers will find this negative.
💡 Focus on recent experiences.
Recruiters only mind your most recent roles. Expanding your resume length on older roles not only makes it long but also may come across as too long to read and irrelevant to recruiters.
💡 Try different spacings and margin sizes to make more space.
Margin sizes and spacings make a difference in altering the length of a resume. Try experimenting with different spacings between lines and headings. Tweaking margins and spacings can help you attain the ideal resume length you are seeking for.
💡 Remove unnecessary graphics.
Graphics only take up space and will work against your resume length. Also, do mind the ATS recruiters use, and graphics will work against passing the screening process.
💡 Remove the “references” section.
References take more space and these can be provided by email or at the interview. Having this section will just increase your resume length, which may work against you.
💡 Remove the “hobbies and interests” section to reduce the resume’s length.
Things you do during free time can be addressed when employers ask about them during the interview. Including them in your resume in often not necessary, more so if you do not have much space left and your resume is already too long.
💡 Use the right resume action words and keywords to keep your writing concise.
Professionals may ask themselves: How many words should a resume be? While the recommended range lies between 400 to 600 words, it is vital that there are action words and keywords from the job posting to increase your chances of getting hired.
💡 Use an efficient resume layout.
The best resume layout relies on what format you use, which helps to keep it in the ideal resume length. There are 3 common types of resume formats and each fits different career backgrounds.
💡 Try out simpler font types and smaller sizes.
Reducing font size and opting for other types may help reduce your overall resume length. Be careful not to make the font sizes too small that are hard to read.
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Resume Length FAQs
Take a look at these frequently asked questions about the ideal resume length:
- How long should my resume be?
- How many pages should my resume be?
- How long should a professional resume be?
- How many words should a resume be?
- How long should a federal resume be?
- How many years should be on a resume?
- How long should a resume summary be?
- How long should an objective be on a resume?
- Is it ok to have a 2-page resume?
- Is a 3-page resume too long?
- How long should a CV be?
1. How long should my resume be?
The length of a resume should be between 1-2 pages. If the most relevant information (e.g. skills, work experience, education) can fit a single page, that is even better.
2. How many pages should my resume be?
Aside from not exceeding two pages, the length of a resume relies on your background. For experienced professionals with multiple roles, a 2-page resume works well. For freshers, career changers, or people with gaps in their background, a 1-page resume would be the ideal length.
3. How long should a professional resume be?
The best practice is to not exceed two pages.
4. How many words should a resume be?
The recommended word count range is 400-600 words.
5. How long should a federal resume be?
A federal resume can be made of several pages. When applying for jobs in the private sector, the length of a federal resume can be three to five pages.
6. How many years should be on a resume?
A resume does not need to exceed 10 years of relevant experience. Keep the number of years below 15 years.
7. How long should a resume summary be?
A resume summary should not be a long paragraph, so stick to 4-5 lines.
8. How long should an objective be on a resume?
An objective statement should not exceed 6 lines. Objectives tend to be slightly longer than resume summaries because it further shows what are your goals and how you will benefit the company.
9. Is it ok to have a 2-page resume?
Yes, as long as it only shows relevant skills and experiences.
10. Is a 3-page resume too long?
The best practice is to keep your resume length as short as possible. Resumes exceeding 1-2 pages are ok under certain situations, such as applying for a federal job or academia.
11. How long should a CV (Curriculum Vitae) be?
CVs are used in academic positions and scientific jobs, and there is no specific limit. It can be composed of several pages. It is important to note that job application CVs and resumes are documents that are interchangeably used in some parts of the world, therefore they are regarded as the same. Depending on where you are applying for a job, make sure to check which type of document they are asking for.
🔑 Key Takeaways:
- The best resume length relies on your past work history and each length has its pros and cons.
- The best practice for anyone in job hunting is to keep the resume length as short as possible in order to not overwhelm the readers. 1-2 pages are enough for most types of jobs.
- Each section influences a resume’s length. Removing unnecessary sections and trying out different layouts, fonts, and margins can help you keep your resume short and concise.
- Resumes can exceed 2 pages under certain job types and situations, such as academia, scientific research, or federal positions.
--- Originally written by Jose J. Rosales ---