How Long Should a Resume Be?

If you’ve spent any time researching resume best practices, you might have heard that having a one-page resume is critical. Though there are certainly advantages of a concise, single-page resume, determining how long a resume should be isn’t necessarily as simple as keeping it on one page. Resume length comes after readability and content quality in importance, so let’s uncover what to focus on first and how resume length should be considered.

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How many pages should a resume be?

A one-page resume is fairly standard, especially for students, new graduates and professionals with one to 10 years of experience. If you do have many years of experience or relevant details from your background that results in a multi-page resume, is it acceptable to employers? The straightforward answer to this question is, yes. However, there are a couple things you should keep in mind if your resume spills onto two or even three pages.

Related: Q&A: What’s the Ideal Cover Letter Length?

The more concise, the better

Communicating your most important and relevant information as briefly as possible is crucial. Recruiters and employers only have a few moments to decide whether or not your resume is a good fit for the role. In keeping with this practice, be critical of every point you include on your resume. Here are a few ways to make your resume more concise:

  • Instead of including every job duty for each position you’ve held at every company you’ve been at, consider including two to three bullet points of quantified (where possible) achievements.
  • Avoid using filler words like “that,” “the,” “a,” “an,” or “like.”
  • Consider removing experiences or information (like details in the education section or first jobs) that may not be relevant to the position you’re applying for.
  • Study the job description to get a better idea of what the employer may be looking for in your resume and what potential keywords to include.

Content over length

If you end up with two or more pages after you’ve removed filler words, unnecessary descriptors and irrelevant experiences and information, that’s okay. Keep your font size between 10 and 12 points and organize the information in a way that’s easy to consume.

Recruiters would much rather read two well-organized pages full of extremely relevant and helpful information than one page that’s difficult to read and crammed with information at a small font point. Keep in mind, however, that the first page will get the most attention.
 

When two page (or more) resumes are okay

Including a second page to communicate key experiences, achievements, projects or other relevant information is absolutely acceptable to employers. Alternatively, if those two pages are filled with irrelevant information to make you appear more qualified, this can be a turn-off and put your application at risk of being passed over.

Related: Words to Avoid and Include on a Resume

Though higher-level candidates like executives tend to have lengthier resumes due to more experience, level is not necessarily an indicator of how many pages a resume should be. While senior professionals may have an extremely well crafted one-page resume packed full of concise, relevant information, students may also have two pages full of applicable projects, coursework, leadership experiences and internships.

When deciding on resume length, the key is to create the most concise, relevant and easy to read document possible. If possible, err on the side of one page, but not at the expense of readability. Whether your resume is one or multiple pages, length is secondary to quality content and high clarity.

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