Figuring Out The Perfect Length for Your Resume

One of the questions I get asked most as a certified professional resume writer is “how long should your resume be?” This is a hard question to answer because there is no one size fits all for a resume, but there are some guidelines you should follow when you’re figuring out the perfect length for your resume.

What makes an effective resume?

The key to a great resume is creating a document that shows potential employers exactly what you’ve achieved and what you can bring to a new role or company. Anyone can say they’re a great employee, but very few people can actually show it. When applying for a job, you want to show people the facts of why they should hire you and what you can bring to the company. On that note, subjective terms and clichés are seen as negative because they don’t convey real information. Instead of using the phrase “results driven” try showing your results and saying something along the lines of:

“Pitched and cultivated a relationship with [Company Name], securing $10,000 partnership for 2016.”

This sentence shows that you actively pursued a client and generated results. Using active verbs and integrating metrics creates a stronger claim than using common “resume phrases” or “buzz words”.

Figuring out the perfect length for your resume is about balance

You don’t want your document to be too long because no one will read it, but you want it to be long enough to include your achievements and qualifications. My general rule of thumb is that if you can fit everything on one page in a clear and reader friendly manner, try to do that, but if you would have to leave out pertinent information or reformat the document so it is barely legible, it’s best to expand your resume over a page.

One important thing to note is that if your document is only 1/3 of a page or less onto the second page, you’ll either want to condense it to fit within one page, or spread things out to span a full (or close to) two pages. Having a document with just a few lines on another page appears unfinished and as if you didn’t want to spend the time to either condense it or add more.

Don’t go over two pages

Unless you are creating a technical CV for medical, scientific, or higher education fields, do not go over two pages. Studies show that hiring managers and recruiters look at individual resumes for an average of 6 seconds each. No one will take the time to look over more than two pages of a resume, so there’s no point in creating a document that long.

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When you’re figuring out the perfect length of your resume, as yourself these questions:

  • Does my resume articulate all that I can offer?
  • Is my document clear, reader friendly, and aesthetically pleasing?
  • Is there information I can take out to make it more streamlined, or should I add in additional information to clarify anything?

Ultimately it doesn’t really matter if your resume is one pages or two as long as you are using your space wisely and articulating your skills and achievements for potential employers.

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