How Long Should a Resume Be?

This is some text inside of a div block.
Published
Oct 11, 2022
|
Updated
Oct 11, 2022

How Long Should a Resume Be?

Lindsay Patton

You want your resume to clearly communicate your experience to hiring managers, but you don't want to write them a book. Here's how to get your resume length right.

Resumes need to communicate your knowledge, skills and experience quickly and efficiently, which is why multi-page resumes are limited to a few exceptions. When recruiters and hiring managers are seeking candidates for a role, they go through dozens (and at times, hundreds) of resumes. With that much competition, your resume needs to stand out. 

Professionals with a decade of experience or more have enough work history to fill multiple resume pages, however, it is better to be choosy with which work examples to highlight so your experience fits within a page. Knowing how many resumes hiring managers receive, a resume should use concise-yet-strong language for the reader to skim through.  

Do you know how long a resume should be? We have the answer ahead. 

How Long Should a Resume Be

Most recruiters and hiring managers prefer one-page resumes because they can easily scan for keywords and phrases that match the job description. Anything more than one page turns reviewing your resume into a longer process with too much information.

Formatting your resume to one page is ideal because:

  • A one-page resume is easy to read.
  • It quickly communicates your expertise to recruiters and hiring managers.
  • Limiting your resume to one page forces you to only include only the most important information. 

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, 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.

5 Tips To Keep Your Resume to One Page

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 which accomplishments and skills you want to include to keep each resume at the one-page length.

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. 

1. Only include necessary information

Getting your resume down to only the most necessary details will save you a lot of space. Within that space, focus on the experience and skills that align closely with the job description. Remember to reference the job posting and incorporate the keywords that align with your 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.

2. Use a 10-point font size

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. 

3. Communicate experience through short bullet points 

Instead of describing your 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: 

  • Increased sales by 30% year-over-year, exceeding annual targets.
  • Successfully implemented a new hire training program and supervised 12 employees.
  • Onboarded 20 clients with a 75% retention rate between 2021 and 2022.

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.

4. Decrease your margins

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.   

5. Use active voice and action verbs

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 voice, 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. 

Exceptions to the One-Page Rule

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.

Academics

In academia, candidates often need two or more pages 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. 

Executives

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 volunteering and board positions) is considered. That experience that takes up space. In this instance, a two-page resume is more appropriate. 

Highly experienced workers

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. 

Try Out This Tool Before You Send Out Your Next Resume

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 work 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, which helps you create effective resume bullets. Whether you’re building a resume from scratch or at the end of the process, the tool offers help at every stage. 

Teal Resume Builder Ad
Teal Resume Builder Ad
Teal Resume Builder Ad

Lindsay Patton

Lindsay Patton is a journalist, adjunct professor, podcast host and digital communicator who specializes in business and career growth.

We help you find
the career dream.

Career Hub

Featured

No items found.

Teal Newsletter

Subscribe for exclusive advice, updates, and news.

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Highlight

5 Women Share Their Inspiring Career Journeys on the Nonlinear Podcast

by James Stevens

If you're looking to make a career pivot in 2022, you're in good company. The Great Resignation (a.k.a. the Great Reshuffle) has people rethinking the type of work they're doing.