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How Many Pages Should My Resume Be?

Person writing a resume

Over the years acceptable resume practice has changed. If it's been a decade or more since you last submitted a resume, you likely tried to cram all of your information on to one page. Then came the infographic resume craze, where every resume was only 1 page regardless of level of experience. Like everything else, things change over time, and resume guidelines are different than they were ten years ago. Today, infographic resumes are no longer common practice and most resumes are 2 pages long. Let's take a closer look at a few specific situations.

Resume Length for an Experienced Worker

Experienced employee working on her resume

A 2018 study indicated that recruiters prefer a 2 page resume over just 1 page. Why the change? Recruiters would like to see details about the job positions a candidate has held. Those details were being left out of 1 page resumes in order to fit everything on the single page.

Most workers with a few years of experience have enough content to justify a 2 page resume. Revision Resume recommends an experienced worker include details about their skills and accomplishments on their resume.

Recruiters are looking for keywords, action verbs and specific numbers so all three need to be incorporated into the document. Your "Work Experience" is not just a historical list of the jobs you have held, where they were located, and the dates you held them. The resume needs to show your successes in each position and why that translates to the job posting you are applying for.

On the flip-side, don't include irrelevant information on your resume just to bulk it up. Many people feel compelled to list every single detail of every job they've ever had, but hiring managers don't want to wade through excess text looking for what they need. So, although it is fantastic that you donated your hair to charity, if it doesn't relate to the position you are applying for, it shouldn't be included.

In addition, Revision Resume advises you don't go too far back in your work history. 10-15 years should be adequate, unless you have some experience further back that directly relates to the job you are seeking.

Resume Length for a Recent Graduate

College Student working on his resume

A recent graduate may not have enough experience to justify a 2 page resume, and that is OK. Sometimes recent graduates try to bulk up their experience by adding in high school information. Revision Resume advises you don't do this. Recruiters are not interested in how you performed in high school. Instead, they are focusing on your college successes and any relevant work experience you can show.

Keep in mind that you can include volunteer experience on your resume if it is in line with the position you are applying for. In fact, volunteer roles are a great way to demonstrate soft skills that employers are looking for.

Executive Level Resume

Often those applying for an executive level position submit a 2 or 3 page resume. As with the experienced worker and recent grad, it is important to cut out anything that would be irrelevant to the job being sought. Include information within the last 15 years and provide adequate detail showing the top achievements during that time period. Don't feel you need to keep all of your information limited to 2 pages, however. Sometimes relevant publications and patents will extend the length of your resume. If 3 pages are necessary to tell your story and show how you are aligned with the job opening, then the added length is justified.

What about Infographic Resumes?

Infographic resumes have gone by the wayside over recent years. Why? The rise of the Applicant Tracking System (ATS) has made infographic resumes unpopular. The ATS doesn't handle tables, charts, and other graphics well, and often these items are eliminated by the computer program. Since job applicants don't know if their resume will be subject to an ATS or not, they can't be certain if the information contained in graphics on their resume will be retained or not. Revision Resume suggests you avoid the infographic style, and instead provide a plain resume format that the ATS can handle.

Final Thoughts

Creating a resume requires you to understand the current guidelines. Recruiters and hiring managers will expect a certain format and length. If you are working under outdated assumptions, you may not meet their expectations. Unfortunately, this can result in your resume being discarded even if you are a good candidate for the position. Revision Resume has up-to-the-minute knowledge of the hiring industry. Reach out to us for assistance in creating a current, relevant resume that not only meets, but exceeds expectations!

Related Reading:


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