How Long Should My Resume Be?

How Long Should My Resume Be?

This is a question many job seekers ask, and it is one which doesn’t have a clear answer. No matter how much you search online, you’ll come up with a number of different answers.

You’ll have people saying a resume only one, to a couple of pages is sufficient, whilst other people might say a 4+ page resume is okay to use. The one thing to remember is, not one person is the same. Therefore, there will be differing amounts of information which needs to be included.

Here we’ll take a look at what goes into a functional resume which will attract a potential employer’s attention, and then we will quickly see how long a resume needs to be for you.

Is it Better for a Resume to be One Page?

There have been so many changes in what people say the ideal length of the resume should be.

There are plenty of individuals who try and cram their full 15-year work history onto one page. Well, if you can do this, you deserve the job, because this is almost impossible to do.

The one-page resume length should be reserved for the following:

  • If you are searching for an internship
  • You have just graduated from school or college
  • You are relatively new to the countries workforce

If you fit into any of these, then having a one-page resume is perfect – no more, no less.
If you have recently graduated from college, it’s safe to remove high school awards, scholarships or extracurricular activities.

What employers want to see is information about internships, odd jobs you might have had (whether paid or volunteering), and on-campus activities you did while sitting your degree.

If you have been in work for a few years, the principle will be the same. Here you can delete your college activities and internships. There is one exception to this guide.

If you took a job after you’d graduated which was not related to your major, and you are now seeking employment which falls in line with your studies, then this employment should be included as it shows a diversity away from just being capable in one field.

More Than One Page Resume

Can a Resume be More Than One Page?

Now, if you don’t fall into any of the above categories, you are granted the chance to have a two-page resume.

This two-page resume length is the same for experienced workers, regardless of the fact they might have almost 20-years’ experience to someone who has ten.

There are no written in stone rules of when you should switch to a two-page resume. As a guide, anyone who’s been working for around seven years will need the second page.

This does change slightly depending on the number of positions you’ve held, or the accomplishments you have made during this time.

If you can only manage one page and a quarter, you should either condense the information to make it fit on one page or add more in so it fills at least half of the second page.

One or Two Page Resume

Exceptions to a One or Two Page Resume

Is a 3+ page resume acceptable? If you are making a drastic career change, most of your previous work experience won’t be relevant toward your new position.

If this is the case, how long should my resume be? In this type of circumstance, you can actually revert from a two-page back to a one-page, without affecting all of your work histories.

This can leave enough space to list the roles where you worked, and what responsibilities and achievements were related to these positions.

Everything should be geared toward the position you are seeking. However, in extreme circumstances, even a two-page resume won’t be enough.

This falls on executives and professionals who possess a long list of technical skills and aptitudes or consulting gigs, which need to be explained.

Although it is recommended not to do so, it can happen, and here are three scenarios where you might exceed the standard two pages of your resume.

  1. You are converting your resume to an International CV for a position outside the country.
  2. You are seeking employment in sciences or academia and need to convert your resume to an academic CV.
  3. You are applying for a position in the government, where you need more historical detail to go into your resume.

How Many Years Should be on a Resume?

We have seen a standard resume length can change depending on the person and the position. What is crucial is how to make the length of resume fit, and make it look both professional and eye-catching.

For long-term employees, work history should be limited to the past 15 years while removing college graduation and certification dates if they fall outside of this fifteen-year window.

Employers care more for what you’ve been doing, and how it fits in with their expectations. How many pages a resume should be can also be affected by formatting.

This is the same for a multiple page resume, or even more importantly for a one-page resume due to limited space.

Eye-Catching Resume

Formatting an Eye-Catching Resume

There are many people who can fail in this section, which is understandable. They might have followed all the resume tips but they don’t know how to accomplish the formatting.

This can be the all-important making or breaking element of any resume. If it doesn’t look good, it can get bypassed by employers.

Font size and their style. These should be no smaller than 10 or 10.5 depending on the information. A size 11 or 12 font is best, and these days gone are using font styles like Arial and Times New Roman. Stick to more modern looking fonts like Century Gothic or Verdana. Calibri and Trebuchet fonts tend to take up less space and can be more comfortable on the eye and to read.

Headers should be 15 or no more than 17, and footers should generally be in a size 8 font.

Spacing and margins will be crucial because they are inadvertently “dead space”. Margins can be 0.5 of an inch, and the spacing between sections can be 0.5 to 1 point while keeping good readability.

How Do You Write Referees On A Resume?

Your referees should be individuals who stand out and impress an employer. This section can also fill up white space if you don’t have enough information and it sets the end of your resume. It also shows you are transparent with nothing to hide.

When writing referees, you should follow the following resume rules.

  • Full name
  • Title/position
  • Full company name
  • Telephone number (more is better, so include a mobile and an office number, if possible)
  • Email address

Some people prefer to not provide referees until a later stage. If this is your preference, writing ‘Referees available upon request”, is sufficient.

How Many Pages Should a Resume Be?

With all the information above, it still doesn’t clearly answer the question. The most likely answer would be “a resume should be enough pages, but not too many.” But, for the majority of job seekers, 2-3 pages is more than enough.

Even armed with this information, you might still need assistance. Someone who deals with this kind of area can easily give some much-needed resume writing help.

These firms can focus on the detail, so you are free to focus on yourself, and find that new job you are looking for.

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