As a job seeker, one of the most important tasks is creating a resume that effectively showcases your knowledge, skills, and experiences to potential employers. However, one of the most common questions that job seekers ask is, "How long should a resume be?" While there is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, the length of a resume can have a significant impact on a job seeker's chances of landing an interview.
In this article, we'll explore the different factors that come into play when deciding the ideal length of a resume, and we'll outline practical tips and recommendations to help you create a compelling and effective document. So, whether you're a recent graduate or a seasoned professional, read on to get valuable insights into crafting a winning resume that gets noticed. Let's dive in!
A resume is an essential document that summarizes an individual's education, work experience, skills, and achievements, with the purpose of presenting themselves as a potential candidate for a job. It's a formal document that job seekers use to showcase their qualifications to a prospective employer, typically as part of the job application process.
Think of your resume as your personal advertisement. It is your chance to showcase your skills and experiences in a clear, concise, and compelling way that makes you stand out from other applicants. While the format and content of a resume can vary depending on the industry or level of experience, the overall goal is to present yourself in the best possible light, with a focus on the skills and experiences that are most relevant to the job you are applying for.
The ideal length of a resume can vary depending on the individual's experience, qualifications, and the job they are applying for. Generally, it is recommended to keep your resume to one or two pages.
If you have less than 10 years of work experience or if you are applying for an entry-level position, a one-page resume can usually provide enough information to showcase your skills and qualifications.
Most recruiters and hiring managers prefer a single page resume because they can easily scan for keywords and phrases that match those in the job posting. Anything more than one page turns reviewing your resume into a longer process with too much information.
Formatting to one page is the ideal resume length because:
When writing your resume, always keep the specific job in mind. Your resume should only include work history, skills, and experience relevant to the job you are applying to. While you are writing, use Teal's Resume Builder and Job Tracker to pull, match, and incorporate keywords from the job posting.
Hiring managers are looking for the best fit, so view your experiences as puzzle pieces. If it fits the job description, add it to your resume. If not, leave it for another opportunity.
Yes, it is generally acceptable for a resume to be two pages, especially if you have over a decade of extensive experience, qualifications, or accomplishments that you want to highlight. Include some of this information in your resume summary, or short professional bio, to grab the reader's attention instantly.
However, it's important to keep in mind that the length of your resume should be determined by the relevance and quality of the content rather than a desire to fill up space.
If you do decide to create a two-page resume, make sure that the most important and relevant information is presented on the first page, and that the second page includes additional details or supporting information. Additionally, make sure that both pages are well-organized, visually appealing, and easy to read.
A resume that is three pages long may be considered too long in most cases. While there may be some exceptions, such as for senior executives or professionals with extensive experience in a highly specialized field, the majority of job seekers should avoid multiple pages and aim to keep their resume to one or two pages.
The purpose of a resume is to provide a concise and targeted summary of your qualifications and achievements, so it's important to focus on the most relevant and impactful information. A three-page resume can often include irrelevant or unnecessary details that can detract from your overall message and make it more difficult for a hiring manager to quickly identify your strengths and suitability for the role.
If you find that your resume is more than two pages, consider reviewing it to see if there is any information that can be omitted or consolidated. Focus on highlighting the experiences and qualifications that are most relevant to the specific job you are applying for.
Regardless of the length of your resume, it's important to make sure that it is well-organized, easy to read, and includes all of the essential information that a hiring manager is looking for.
The one-page rule applies to a majority of the workforce. Students, recent graduates, and workers with fewer than 10 years of experience typically have enough work history to stick to one page. However, there are some professional fields that may allow more than one page.
In academia, candidates often need two or more pages for their education section to showcase the amount of work spent devoted to their subject area. This includes advanced degrees earned, research completed, and any publications where their writing is featured. Academics are considered experts in their subject areas, and a multi-page resume best communicates their expertise.
Executive roles require extensive knowledge and expertise, and those qualities are often earned after many years of experience. At the C-suite level, highlighting leadership experience and skills is necessary and often takes more than one page to communicate. When applying for an executive position, all leadership experience (including volunteer work and board positions) is considered. That experience takes up space. In this instance, a two-page resume is more appropriate.
Workers with more than 20 years into their careers often go further than a page on their resumes. A lot of experience and growth happens over two decades, and it is sometimes necessary to spill onto a second page to show hiring managers and recruiters the full story. With technology increasing access to upskilling opportunities, it is now common for workers to have a multitude of hard skills.
If you are part of these groups, the one-page rule won't always apply to your situation. However, if you're struggling to fit your qualifications into one page, go through the above tips and see how much space they save.
Every bit of space is valuable in resume writing. Teal's Resume Builder helps you easily format your resume with professional templates and default settings that are made to pass applicant tracking systems. With this tool, you can easily select and de-select relevant accomplishments and skills you want to include to keep each resume length to one page.
If you're DIY-ing your resume, you can optimize space through your font size, margins, writing, and more. If you are struggling to cut down your resume to one page, try these tips.
Getting your resume down to only the most necessary details will save you a lot of space. Within that space, focus on only relevant experience and skills that align closely with those in the job description. Remember to reference the job posting and incorporate the keywords that align with your relevant experience into your resume.
Recruiters and hiring managers don't always read through an entire resume, so by incorporating keywords from the job description, they will find what they're looking for.
You can easily save resume space by reducing your font size. On resumes, you can get away with using a 10-point font — as long as it is displayed clearly. It's easy to squish as much information as possible into one page to avoid spilling into the second page, but it is equally important your resume is legible. When formatting, there should be enough spacing between sections to make your resume easy to read and simple for readers to scan through.
Instead of describing your professional experience in multiple sentences, add bullet points under each job role and limit those bullet points to one or two lines.
Ideally, your bullet points will have fewer than 15 words and look like this:
The bullet points above communicate three major responsibilities and accomplishments in just a few words.
Each bullet point starts with an action verb and there are quantifiable numbers in each line. You want to communicate that you are a candidate that gets results, and numbers are the best way to do so. When building your resume, try to quantify your experience whenever you can. Numbers don't lie and hard data is proof of your work ethic.
This is a resume, not homework, so you can decrease your margins a little to offer up more space. Like your font strategy, you'll want to avoid squishing your content together, so stay within 0.5 to 1 inch margins
How your resume looks is just as important as what's in it, so ensure it's clean and readable through your formatting. By keeping within the 0.5 to 1 inch margin mark, you are opening up more space on your resume while keeping it clean and professional.
Use action verbs and active voice (when the subject performs the action) to communicate your experience clearly and concisely. When you combine action verbs with active language, you cut down your resume's word count and come across confident to hiring managers.
For example, a sentence using active voice looks like this:
I managed six employees.
In comparison, passive voice looks like this:
Six employees were managed by me.
Did you notice the active voice sentence is shorter? When you write in an active voice on your resume, you have more space to work with.
You don't need to hire a certified professional resume writer to make sure your resume stands out from the crowd. You have your resume down to one page, now it's time to optimize it. Getting a second set of eyes on your resume is always helpful. But what if you can't find someone in time to submit your resume?
Get a second opinion from Teal's Resume Builder, which is free, quick, and simple to use. The tool holds all of your career history, provides multiple resume templates, and gives tailored insights to help you build the best resume.
Teal's Resume Builder also comes with an Achievement Assistant tool and AI functionality, which helps you create effective resume bullets. To get quality, metric-driven achievements, make sure to attach a job description to incorporate relevant keywords.
Whether you're building a resume or cover letter from scratch or at the end of the process, the tool offers help at every stage.