How long should a resume be?

You have heard it a million times: a perfect resume is one page long. How true is this statement, who said it and what situations does it apply to? «How long should my resume be?» is probably one of the questions most asked by job seekers all over the world. There is no perfect rule for everybody that answers this question – the length of the resume depends on the experience and on the job in question. We have selected some crucial tips on how to make your resume the perfect length for your situation.

TIP 1: The shorter, the better

They say that brevity is the soul of wit and that means that the more concise your resume is, the better it is. Too much information is what will make your resume unnecessarily long. What you need to do instead is to show your future employer the clean layout of your career path, education, interests and skills.

“Shorter” doesn’t mean too short. It means eliminating all the “clutter” from the resume and making it clean. Focus on your key selling points and cross out anything that is irrelevant to your goal.

TIP 2: Select the right size and font

Recruiters go through hundreds and thousands of resumes. If you would like yours to stand out, select the right size and font that make it readable at one glance. Sometimes just playing with the font, the size and the margins can make your resume fit on one page.

However, don’t sacrifice the readability of your resume for the sake of fitting it on one page. It is better to have a resume on two pages than to have your future employer give up on your resume because the font is too small.

Don’t forget to keep the formatting simple and stick with a clean and well-recognized font, not all the software recognizes fancy fonts.

TIP 3: Remove the unnecessary information

You don’t have to list every single job you have ever had on your resume. If you are not an entry-level candidate, you can leave out any positions you don’t want to include or short-term positions that have nothing to do with your desired one.

Removing irrelevant information from your resume is also a very important step in customizing your resume for a particular position, so this tip is like killing two birds with one stone.

As simple as the one-page-resume rule might be, a lot of candidates don’t follow it and try to throw all the information out there, hoping the recruiter will be impressed by a very rich experience. However, what impresses the recruiters more is the candidate’s ability to prioritize. Start building your resume with the main information that is 100% relevant to the position and add the other details later.

TIP 4: Precision is key

A great way to save some extra precious lines on your resume is to be as precise as you can. Your resume is not an autobiography; it is a list of your selling points that make you a perfect candidate. Use keywords, shorten sentences and stick to bullet points – the latter make your resume look clean and organized.

Your cover letter and hopefully the job interview will cover the rest information about you to the recruiter, while a clean and precise resume will be a first step in getting this interview.

When do I use a resume that is longer than one page?

If you have over 10 years of experience and you have switched industries, a two-page resume is a good idea. A lot of recruiters say that with a certain amount of experience and background, a longer resume is a good idea. In this case, keep the most relevant information on the first page.

Longer resumes are also popular in the engineering industry, when a candidate needs enough space to prove his technical skills.

If your resume is three pages long, it has to be worth the read. Executives and senior-level managers with a long list of accomplishments or scientists with a lot of publications have longer resumes.

These days there is no consensus and no rule set in stone between the employers on the length of resume you absolutely must use. Keep it very relevant! For some positions, you may want to have a two-page resume and for some one page would be enough – it all depends on the job and the experience. Simply keep in mind the two P’s when writing your resume: Precise and Prioritize.