Keep it short – resume length guidelines
One of the main questions asked about resumes is, “Do I have to include everything on one page?” The most common misconception of resume writing is that your entire professional history has to fit within one 8 ½”x11” page of white paper. The truth is, the resume should be well written and concise, and should promote your qualifications in the best possible light. This is sometimes impossible to do in one page. Thus, a resume can extend to multiple pages, with some consideration depending on your career level.
• Be concise. This is critical. Do not use lengthy sentences and paragraph forms to disclose your experience and your education. Employers want straight forward statements that highlight your qualifications. A resume is not a place to show your creative writing skills.
• Perfect your resume. You have second to catch your potential employer’s attention. Make sure that your resume is properly formatted, and you are not trying to fit too much copy on a single page of paper. Create appropriate and professional sections for your resume. Your potential employer is more concerned with the look and content of your resume than with its length.
• Longer is not better when you don’t have the experience to meet your career objective. If you are new to the job market, are changing careers, or you’ve only had one job, stick to a one page resume. If you don’t have the experience to meet your career objective, no matter the reason, do not apologize for it. Don’t try to fill up your resume with irrelevant content; instead do your best to highlight your transferable skills, and stick to the “short and sweet.”
• Unless you are applying for an executive-level job, or are composing curriculum vitae, your resume should not exceed two pages. The purpose of a well-written resume is to sell you as the best candidate for the job with a confident and a straight-forward approach. Do not oversell your skills. Do not list more than three to five previous positions you’ve help. Stick to those skills and experiences that best meet the job requirements and your career objective. The most relevant information has to be included on the first page. The second page should be numbered, with your contact information included as well (just in case the pages are separated when printed, you don’t want your potential employer to discard the second page of your resume completely). If you find yourself going over two pages, review your resume and make sure that you are not incorporating information that is irrelevant to your goals or to the position you are seeking.
• Make sure that your professional history warrants a resume that is three pages or longer. As mentioned above, unless you are a senior- or executive-level professional, or you are composing curriculum vitae, your resume should not extend to over two pages. If you have a longer resume, you will have to make sure that every statement on the resume is applicable to your career goals. If you have had decades of leadership experience for example, demonstrate that using the reverse chronological resume style and only list those jobs that best qualify you for the position you are seeking. If you need to include an extensive list of publications or certifications, your resume can take up more than three pages. Make sure that the important information is still listed on the first page. This includes your career objective and professional profile, and your current or most recent professional experience. All subsequent pages need to be numbered, and include your contact information in the heading.