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How Long Should A Resume Be? Ideal Length & Best Pratices

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A resume can be crucial to whether you get a job or not, or whether you’re even invited to an interview in the first place.

An employer needs to know about you and why your skills and experience are going to be a perfect fit for the position that they’re advertising, and your resume is going to tell them most of this.

But how long should your resume be?

What’s the right length?

Well, we’ve got the answers for you.

In the guide below, you’ll find out all about how to get the perfect length of resume for your personal experience. Read on!

What Is Resume Length?

When we say resume length, we aren’t talking about the exact word count that you need to have. Not entirely, at least.

Really, resume length is measured in the amount of pages that it contains.

If your resume is too many pages long, some employers won’t look at it all, and will just put it away and move onto the next candidate.

A hiring manager has to read through a lot of resumes in a day, so you need to make one that captures their attention, but is a concise enough length that they have the time to get through it.

A One Page Resume

It can be very difficult to stand out these days, with so many people applying for so many jobs – and so much of it being remote and through the internet.

For that reason, a one page resume can be risky, even though it used to be the tradition.

With just one page, many candidates can struggle to fit all the relevant information and optimized keywords onto it, and may lose out on jobs because of it. 

However, there are a few scenarios where you should be writing a one page resume.

For one, if it’s your first resume then one page will be more than enough, and this can often be because you’ve just come out of college.

One page will suffice because you likely won’t have much experience to put on it (you will soon though!).

On the other hand, the job listing might recommend that you only do a single page – in which case you should always try and follow what they want.

Among other things, it tells them that you can follow instructions well. 

Benefits

  • It teaches you to be concise.
    If you only have a little experience, you might be tempted to use filler to bulk it out.
    Employers are trained to notice this, and they’ll see right through it!
    Which won’t be a good first impression, so it’s often better to keep it concise and relevant.
  • Speaking of relevant, you want to only include past experience that relates to the position you’re applying for.
    If your past job was a different field, focus on describing the skills that you refined at it that will be essential and necessary to your new role.
  • It can be read quickly by the employer, which might help you if you’re busy handing it to somebody at a high-pressure event like a job fair. 

A Two Page Resume

How Long Should A Resume Be?

This is the length that we would recommend you usually stick to, because it gives you more than enough room to put all your work history and skill sets, while still not letting it get too bloated and filler-heavy.

If you have enough experience to fill at least a page and a half, then two pages will be perfect, giving you just enough to add some extra optimized keywords.

It’s also going to be great for people who aren’t entry-level, and already have experience in the field to which they are applying. 

Benefits

  • Give you the room to put all your experience.
    If you’ve got a lot of previous work, and have amassed a lot of skills on top of that, as well as an admirable education, then you’ll be able to fit it all onto this.
    Be sure to include optimized keywords, as well as any relevant certificates, and the information of any professional reference people too. 
  • Two pages will also be good for those who have been working a long time.
    If you have a decade under your belt, then there’s going to be a lot to cover.
    Two pages will give you the room to offer condensed information on your roles and responsibilities, as well as any key career highlights you think will be relevant to this new position that you’re applying for. 

A Three Page Resume

Three page resumes are going to be rare exceptions, because your information is probably going to be more suited to a CV.

CVs are a full history of your credentials, while resumes are concise descriptions of your skills and qualifications. 

These are going to be needed in fields of extreme expertise, like high-level executives or rares where there needs to be a lot of technical or scientific detail.

This is because these are going to be the positions where the candidates applying will have years, maybe decades, of experience – and it all needs to be laid out to check that they’re right for the job. 

If you’re applying for a role in the federal government, then your resume will need to be three pages or longer – this is because they ask for information like your social security number, as well as a complete breakdown of your education, and a full and detailed description of your employment history.

On top of that, they also want to know about additional training, and even your college GPA. 

Final Thoughts

You now know all about how long your resume should be, depending on your experience and the kind of role for which you are applying.

If you’re ever in doubt, two pages will likely do you fine. 

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