You might have heard about the “one page rule” of writing a resume. As the name suggests, this rule states that every resume should never exceed a single page in length. A lot of the worlds best executive resume writers will actually tell you a two-page resume is normally best. But is it always the right choice, or are there situations when a resume should only be one-page? This guide will provide the answer.
The Right Length for a Resume
So, how long should a resume be? Well, if you were to ask 100 recruiting experts that very same question, you’d get quite a few different answers. Some would recommend that you always stick to the one-page rule, while others would argue that your resume can be as long as three, four, or even five pages in certain cases.
The simple truth of the matter is that it all depends on the circumstances of the situation, including your own career status and the kind of job you’re applying for. While concise resumes are generally appreciated, longer documents may be necessary from time to time. Let’s dig into the details and look at some example situations where different resume lengths may apply.
The One Page Rule
The concept of the one-page rule has been around for many years. It suggests that the majority of resumes should be no longer than a single page. In other words, you should be able to condense all your relevant skills, experiences, and other key information onto just one page.
There are clear advantages to this. First, it looks neat and tidy. Second, in today’s fast-paced world, many recruiters simply don’t have the time or inclination to read through page after page of text. In addition, keeping your resume concise helps you cut out unnecessary info. For example, there’s no need to list every single job you’ve ever had – only the most relevant experiences are required.
In terms of when to follow the one-page rule, it’s a good choice for graduates and younger job seekers. It’s also preferred when applying for junior roles or jobs that don’t necessarily have the biggest lists of requirements regarding skills and experiences.
Resumes With Multiple Pages
While the one-page rule might have been gospel for a long time, many experts now argue that it’s no longer valid. They say that a resume can and should be longer – much longer, in some cases – than a single page. It all depends on the role that is being considered and the seniority of the applicant in question.
For example, let’s say a company is looking to hire a person for an executive position that demands a particular and broad set of skills, combined with years of experience and multiple qualifications. In that case, a one-page resume may simply feel insufficient to convey the appropriate level of information that needs to be conveyed.
Similarly, imagine an applicant who is an expert in their field, with more than a decade of relevant experience and varying skills and certificates worth mentioning. They, often, could feel that they require at least two pages (or sometimes more) to accurately sell themselves to an employer and discuss all relevant details of their professional life thus far.
How Long Is Too Long?
Evidently, there are cases where multiple-page CVs are a good idea. However, that doesn’t mean that you should go overboard when writing your own, even if it’s for a senior role, or if you have lots of experience.
Brevity is always appreciated with these kinds of documents, and no recruiter wants to read through page after page of irrelevant info. Nor do they want to read resumes that reach ridiculous lengths, like 10 pages or more, even for the very best candidates.
Instead, it’s generally agreed that more seasoned job seekers resumes should generally be two to three pages in length, rather than one. In some highly specific situations, for candidates with a wealth of experience and skills, it’s possible to go slightly longer than this. However, five pages should be considered a rarity and the absolute maximum. Anything beyond that is simply too long.
Tips for Keeping a Resume Concise
So, often, you’ll want to keep your resume short and sweet. But that can be tricky. Many candidates, even graduates and younger workers, find that they have a lot of skills, experiences, and achievements they want to mention. This can lead to their resumes spilling over into second and third pages. Here are some smart tips to cut it down to size:
Trim experiences: If you have lots of previous job experience, don’t mention them all. Stick to the most recent and relevant roles for the job to which you’re applying.
Avoid filler: Cut out unnecessary filler words that don’t add anything to the resume. Even simple words like “that” and “the” can be chopped out to save space.
Play with formatting: Try adjusting the margins of your document to give yourself more space to work with. And alter the line spacing, if necessary, too.
Use bullets: For sections like “Skills” or “Previous duties,” use bullet points. And keep them short – they should never go on for longer than two lines.
Keep it relevant: Consult the description of the job you’re applying for to see what the recruiter wants to hear about and focus on that.
Choose the Right Resume Length for Every Application
Overall, the big takeaway is this – most of the time, a single-page resume should suffice, but there are cases when you might want to make it longer. It’s important to consider the position you’re applying for, as well as your own professional status, to decide on the right length.
Remember, recruiters can be ruthless. They may dismiss resumes right away if they feel the length isn’t quite right. So, this is an important factor to keep in mind. You don’t want to pour hard work into crafting a resume, only to have it dismissed for being too long (or not long enough).
This can be tricky, which is why many people may want to turn to trusted resume writing companies to help. As Denver’s biggest and best resume writing service, Expert Resume Pros can help cut your resume to the right size and give you the best chance of success in future applications. Contact us today to learn more.