There are people who’ll tell you your resume shouldn’t exceed one page and those who’d advise you to ditch all such rules and write as long resume as you please. So, what to make of this when all sources say differently? What is the ideal resume length?
The truth is there is no one universal answer on how long your resume should be. It’s a mess, we know, but don’t worry. We have guidelines for you to figure that out for yourself.
The resume length depends on these three factors:
1. The amount of experience you have
If you’re a fresh graduate or have less than one year of experience, it’s enough to keep your resume to one page. However, even as a new grad, you might have had many relevant internships, summer jobs, plenty of extracurricular activities or valuable skills and you may want to expand your resume to two pages. This is okay, but make sure the info you provide is relevant.
If, on the other hand, you’ve been in the business for quite some time now and you simply can’t squeeze your numerous experience and skills to one or even two pages, feel free to give yourself as much space as you want. Avoid deleting important information about yourself in an effort to make your resume a one-pager.
2. The field in which you want to work
In some fields, it is advised to have a longer resume. For example, many programmers work different contracts every year and have various sets of skills they need to mention. Also, resumes for medical workers, lawyers, researchers, scientists, or social workers should contain more information, and hence can be longer than standard resumes.
Also, resumes for private industry (corporate jobs) are a bit different than for public sphere (federal jobs). Corporate resumes are usually shorter (up to 2 pages). The federal jobs vary greatly in their requirements so the length and style of a resume in this sphere are highly individual – it depends on what kind of information is required for the position.
3. The country you’re applying for a job in
Each country has different standards when it comes to resume length. For example, in The United States, Canada, and The United Kingdom resumes are usually one page long. In continental Europe and Australia, the standards for resumes (or rather, CVs) differ but it’s usually up to two pages.
As opposed to that, in Arabic countries, it is normal to have a resume 3-5 pages long. In these countries, they would carefully scrutinize your resume to know everything about you.
Does length matter?
The resume length matters only if it is read by a person, not by the ATS (applicant tracking system). Some bigger companies use ATS to filter resumes received at an HR department. These systems scan each resume for keywords and if it doesn’t contain the required keywords, it is automatically discarded. This system doesn’t take the length of a resume into consideration, it’d scan your resume even if it was ten pages long. However, you can never be sure whether the company uses ATS or not, so best to keep your resume brief.
Also, be aware, that we live in a social media era, so in addition to your resume, almost every recruiter will check you on LinkedIn or Facebook. LinkedIn currently serves as a reliable complement to a resume so in case you still don’t have a LinkedIn profile, think about creating one. Fill up your LinkedIn profile with all info about your professional life and keep your resume brief – stick only to the most relevant information.
The newest trends in resume writing indicate a prevalence of one page resumes. This is because of ever increasing competition on a job market and because plenty of information on candidates is easily accessible online these days. Despite that, no one can really dictate how long should your resume be.
All in all, we’d say a standard resume length is one to two pages long.
Don’t be afraid to leave out certain info, the key to getting an interview invitation is to grab the recruiter’s attention. So, try to be as concise as possible, you can always mention all the details to the recruiter in person.
On the other hand, if you have a lot to say and think this info is relevant, don’t squeeze it onto one page by using small fonts or busy layout. Providing valuable information about yourself is, after all, more important than the length of a resume.
And most importantly: If you want the job, your resume must be outstanding!