Believe it or not, deciding how many pages to use is a challenging task for thousands of applicants, even for highly-skilled professionals.
Choosing the right one can make the difference between scaring and engaging the recruitment specialist. For this reason, we crafted a guide to answer your question: How long should a resume be?
How Many Pages to Use in My Resume?
There’s an urban legend that goes like this: “Your resume should never be longer than one page.” The thing is, this rule of thumb has exceptions and doesn’t apply to all cases.
So, how long should a resume be in my case? One page? Two pages? Three!?
Let’s break it down!
When to Use a One-Page Resume
This one is the classic and most typical format for applicants across the world.
Thousands of job coaches still recommend using it blindly in almost every kind of application, regardless of the industry. However, it works better when you:
- Want to be brief. If you can comprise your skillset, work experience, and most important achievements in one fashionable page, and if you consider one page is the right choice, do it! Some stand out because of elegant simplicity. Also, use it when the portfolio and cover letter are the protagonists of your application.
- Have little or no experience. If your background is not so impressive, briefness is your best path. Why? Because this way, you can focus on what matters most: your talent!
- Apply for entry-level (or similar) positions. In these cases, most recruiters focus on the abilities you have rather than your trajectory and knowledge. Just be sure to include your best and most relevant skills, a professional objective, and your academic history.
- You’re making a professional transition. If your professional pass is not related to the work you apply for, it’s better not to try to fill the blanks. Instead, use a one-page functional resume format to describe your skills, potential, and transferable talents.
When to Use a Two-Page Resume
The two-page format is a brilliant choice when it comes to:
- Senior positions. The higher the role, the more the recruiter wants to delve into your professional history. This is a great opportunity to show in-depth your professional development and most important references.
- Openings for technical specialists. Comprising all the skills and knowledge that an engineer needs to apply is nearly impossible –not to say very inconvenient.
- Medical or academic fields. Doctors, therapists, nurses, scientists, professors, and researchers, among others, must provide plenty of details, showing references, publications, recommendations, and more.
And Is There a Maximum Number of Words in a Resume?
Of course not! Some recruiters could ask you not to surpass a word count –which is rare. But, most of them will ask you to follow a maximum page number instead of a word limit.
The thing is, it has to use as much information as necessary to demonstrate why you’re an outstanding candidate. But, in turn, you must be as succinct and direct as possible.]Remember that your resume is the first glimpse through your capabilities, the first and foremost impression job recruiters are going to have. Therefore, it has to be clear, elegant, styled, and easy to read.
5 Rules for Getting the Right Resume Length
There are countless rules to craft a resume with the right length. Still, most of those rules get together in the following five points, beginning with:
1. Focus on the Most Relevant Information
Many candidates think that throwing all their experience over the place is OK, but think about it:
If you worked at a supermarket when you were 17 and are applying for a job as a data analyst, should you include it?
Instead, use all the previous positions related to or similar to the job you applied for. And if you don’t have a work past connected to that opening, use positions where your skill set fits the job. This way, you won’t fulfill space pointlessly and will have a tailor-made document to use.
2. Be as Clear and Succinct as Possible
Remember: it’s all about introducing yourself in a few seconds. If you can point out your most relevant talents, skills, experience, and accomplishments with a few phrases, you’ll definitely get more chances than the other applicants.
3. Remove Unrequired Sections
The professional objective and the reference section are useful, but not in all cases. If you can omit these sections or detail them in your cover letter, just do it.
As to the references, you can attach some links in the experience segment, saving up space and consolidating your work background.
So, the next time you ask yourself “how long should a resume be?”, remember to get rid of filling segments.
4. Reduce the Format
The font size and the margin borders can overload your paper, even when the difference isn’t that visible, resting space from all your sections unnecessarily.
Make sure to format your paper appropriately to make the most out of your application. And if designing documents is not your stuff, you can always opt for our list of resume templates to choose from.
5. Edit Ruthlessly
Last but not least. Make sure to discard wordy, fluffy phrases, typos, fillers, and above all, grammatical mistakes –no mercy here.
Your format needs more than a beautiful layout. It requires irresistibly flawless grammar to showcase your language command, eye to detail, and professionalism.
How Long Should a Resume Be If I Don’t Have Experience?
As we mentioned, the one-page resume is, generally, the best choice for applicants without experience and college students. However, there are cases where a two-page resume fits better. For instance, when:
- The application requires your academic history. When your academic background and recognitions are paramount in the application, you should use as much space as necessary to describe it, even if you break the one-page rule.
- You’ve got to comprise additional documents. Technically, your portfolio, cover letter, and motivational letter aren’t part of your resume but are attached to it. However, you might come across a recruiter asking you to include them all in the same files. Pay attention to the instructions.
And How to Shorten My Resume?
Before submitting your application, bear in mind the following five tips:
- Use the right template. Whether chronological (to highlight your experience), functional (to highlight your talents), or both. Likewise, select the most fitting design for your personality and the company you apply for.
- Spot wordy sentences. Look for repetitive phrases throughout your paper and reduce or discard them.
- Try to reduce phrases to words. Sometimes, you can comprise a whole paragraph in a couple words. For instance, instead of writing “extremely comfortable talking publicly to big audiences, use “eloquent and extroverted.”
- Use bullet points when necessary. These little friends will help you break the wall of text and make it clearer for recruiters. The final layout will be more organized, attractive, compelling, and direct.
- Complement with a cover letter. This document will explain in detail who you are, how you discovered the company and the vacancy, and why you’ll overshadow the other applicants. Therefore, maintain it short and right-to-the-point to balance your cover letter (and portfolio if required).
So what’s the Best Length for my Resume?
The answer is: there is no definite answer.
When thinking of how long should a resume be, remember that your resume has to be as long as necessary to delve into your professional achievements. But, it must also be brief, dynamic, clear, and readable.
If your file gathers all these criteria, you’ll have an application well-loaded with relevant information rather than a whiny paper or an overwhelming wall of text.
If you support these factors with a personalized paper, suitable to the position and company you apply for, your application will overshadow most applicants out there. As a result, putting you in an enviable position in your job hunt.