Whether you are a new college graduate or an experienced executive looking to get a job at a new company, the age old question of resume length will still be plaguing you.
How long is too long? What is the exact number of pages acceptable for resumes? These questions must be running through your mind right now.
Whether you just have so much to write about or the exact opposite, you will be able to decide the length of your resume after you read this guide.
If you might think this article will provide you with an exact number of pages or words, then you’re in for a disappointment. What this post is really all about is to help you find the right balance of content and length.
It would really depend on your situation, your employment level and on the company you are applying for.
There are several rules out there about resume writing, some of them you definitely must not break, like lying on your resume, having typos or misspellings and providing negative information.
But other rules of resume writing can be broken. One of these rules is the length of resumes. You probably have read a lot of guides telling you that your resume length should be just one page. This is generally not true for most applications.
There are accepted ideal resume lengths for different kinds of applications which may help you decide on how long your resume should be.
Let me enumerate them for you:
For entry level applicants / new graduates
The length of a resume for new graduates would ideally be one page long. A majority of new graduates conform to this one page rule. This is so because not much experience or accomplishment are available to be placed on their resumes, so focusing more on skills would be advantageous for new graduates. Two-page resumes are also okay for those who have had a lot of relevant internships, extracurricular activities, summer-jobs or other experiences that can justify a two-page resume.
Above Entry level but below Executive
Many applicants will mostly belong to this category, those who have had previous experience but did not hold executive positions. People writing resumes at this level often have difficulty limiting themselves to one or two pages. A good average resume length for the above entry level applicant would be two to three pages, but again if you choose to write more than two pages, make sure the content justifies the extra pages.
Executives, CEOs, COOs and other “C” level positions
For the elite people holding these positions, the length of a resume becomes irrelevant. Basically the rule does not apply. Major companies would want to know everything about an executive applicant before they hire them. Their resumes could be as long as five pages or more and might also include separate portfolios and other documents. Hiring a candidate for an executive position is a pretty big risk and making the wrong decision would spell doom for any company.
The most important thing to consider when deciding the length of a resume is to make sure that the content is relevant and compelling.
Don’t ever sacrifice content for length, if you think an item needs to be in your resume then go ahead and place it there.
As long as what you are adding to your resume justifies the length then the length does not need to be a restriction and hinder you.
It is also recommended that you place the most relevant items on the top part of the first page on your resume. Just remember to be accurate when you summarize, and only include key, relevant contents.
Chris Mullen’s ADVANCED TIP: Have an understanding of the field you are applying for. Different fields have different customs. For instance, in higher education resumes can be multiple pages (upwards of eight pages or more) and a curriculum vitae (CV) can be dozens and dozens of pages long when applying for professor and academic positions. So, again, know the field you are applying to.
Question: What do you believe is the correct length of a resume and why? I would love to hear your thoughts. You can leave a comment by clicking here.