Home > Resumes > How Long Should My Résumé Be?

How Long Should My Résumé Be?

One of the most common questions we hear as professional résumé writers but also one of the most misunderstood. My answer to our clients is that one size does not fit all. In addition to that, one page does not fit all either! Traditionally, résumés are one, two or three pages. (In some industries and countries more than three pages are acceptable, even expected!). While I don’t have a concrete answer I’ll provide you with the information you need to decide which length works best for you.

What works for one professional may not work for the next as everyone has a unique set of professional circumstances and experiences. Typically, one page résumés are most common for entry-level or recent graduates. Someone with little experience or just starting out would probably have no need to go beyond one page. If you don’t have enough for two pages stick to one. Don’t include irrelevant information to try and get two full pages because you heard that was the best length. You will make more of an impact if you stick to one page of high-impact information. But this also does not mean that all résumés have to be one page only. This is a common misconception.

A two page résumé is probably the most common. Most mid-career and executive-level job seekers should easily be able to fill two pages. In the space of two pages you should clearly show your experience, qualifications and accomplishments to give a prospective employer a clear picture of your professional history. If you don’t have enough information to fill two full pages you may want to reformat the style and content of your résumé to get it all to fit either on one page or two full pages.

The third page of a résumé is usually reserved for publications, extensive education or awards and accomplishments that are not listed in the body of the résumé. If your résumé is stretching onto a third page because you are going back 30 years you may want to rethink that. Some professions or positions might require a more comprehensive overview going beyond the typical ten year job history but that is not the norm for most positions.

Whatever the length of your résumé, it is crucial to use the one that will benefit you the most. If you’re still unsure as to what résumé length is right for you it might be time to call a professional. Great Résumés Fast works with professional and executive-level job seekers in the development of their customized, personally-branded résumés, cover letters and social networking profiles. Call toll free 877-875-7706 to speak to a professional résumé writer and find out how to achieve your career goals or request a free résumé analysis by sending your resume to freeanalysis@greatresumesfast.com.

Categories: Resumes
  1. Greg Tanner
    January 11, 2010 at 5:44 pm

    This is a difficult issue that I am grappling with presently. I haven’t had a lot of jobs, for my age (54) but I DO have a lot of experience and achievements as a General Manager/MD which I have cut down from a 4 page resume to 3. Reducing further seems impractical or almost impossible to squeeze into 2 pages – it means leaving out key relevant achievements, which when looking for a job at my level is perhaps unwise, given the competition for the few jobs around; or leaving out jobs prior to say, the last 20 years but which have value to my background. As an employer, I’ve always wanted to see a candidate’s full career path written down – and I’ve also been more than willing to hire very seasoned people (one of my best ever hires was over 60 when I took him on!).
    I agree a ‘book’ is too much – but a recruiter who dismisses anything over 2 pages is not doing a satisfactory job, in my view, of reviewing the talent available for himself or his client. The key is to make what one writes interesting and compelling; succinct to understand and relevant to the particular job being applied for. Tailoring the content to suit is important. After a career where I have never had to look for a job in over 30 years (I’ve been head-hunted or recruited by people who know me each time I’ve moved) I admit that it’s not easy to have to get to grips with a job search! And crafting a ‘perfect resume’ is the first challenge we all face. And as you say, there’s not a perfect answer.

  2. January 11, 2010 at 6:37 pm

    It’s nice to see a complete response an age old question. Great job!

  3. Dan W. Swanson
    January 11, 2010 at 11:02 pm

    Good article on resumes. In regards to Greg’s comments about recruiters and resumes. It is not really the length that is important, but that you have have to say the right words in your summary to convince them to read more and that you look like a match for the position they are trying to fill. Other wise you go the “circular file”.

  4. January 12, 2010 at 12:48 am

    I enjoyed reading Greg’s point of view. Resumes are sales tools designed to familiarize yourself with an unfamiliar audience in such a way that it generates positive interest in you as a candidate. If you ask 10 resume writers, hiring managers or recruiters what the secret recipe is to generate enthusiasm, you will assuredly receive 10 different responses. Focus first on quality of content, matching your attributes with those of the job description and make a compelling case for how you see yourself adding value. The length of your message needs to be considered because length is part of the presentation. Yet, if your message is compelling, chances are that you will have the readership.

  5. Greg Tanner
    January 12, 2010 at 7:44 pm

    Sean – Agreed. It’s so valid that if you ask 10 different recruiters or managers what they look for or want in the CV/resumes they are looking at you will get different answers.

    For example – age or date of birth. I’ve been told to leave it out, leave it in. Good reasons on both sides to do either, but WHICH does one choose? The answer, of course, is that you just don’t know because generally you don’t know who will be reviewing it and what is their attitude? Personally? I probably always do a mental calculation when I read a CV without an age or DoB in anyway – as I’ve said, I am not at all ageist – but I DO need to consider the make up of the team the person might join or lead. I don’t make preconceived judgements – if experience etc causes me to think I should interview the person then I’ll call them in regardless. So personally, having the age easy to read rather than have to calculate it is preferable. But I wouldn’t discard a resume for its absence. But I am afraid I am becoming paranoid as to what to do in my own CV! 🙂

  6. January 27, 2010 at 3:29 pm

    The length of resume depends on experience. One page is good but two pages are fine if space is filled with relavant experience and results achieved.

  7. Sergiy Shamota
    January 28, 2010 at 3:24 pm

    Thanks for such a clear guidence!
    I have the same opinion on the matter.

  1. February 8, 2010 at 4:09 am

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