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How Long Should Your Resume Be? 8 Resume Myths, Busted

One page or two? References or not? We address the most common questions from job hunters.

Emily McCrary-Ruiz-Esparza
Content Strategist

editing

One of the most important elements of a job search is creating a resume that gets you noticed. But, you ask, how long should a resume be?

Well, you asked, so we answered.

Resume Myth #1: Your resume should be only one page

Your resume should be as long or as short as it takes to clearly list relevant experience and give the reader a solid look at your career.

  • For recent college grads or those entering the workforce for the first time, one page is generally enough. But if you’ve had internships and real jobs while in school, don’t be afraid to use more than one page.

  • For those who have been working for years, your resume should likely be more than a single page.

Read more: The Complete Guide to Getting a Job (Whether You’re On Your First or Fifth)

Resume Myth #2: You should include a summary or objective statement

“You should include a summary statement or value proposition that describes you in a few short sentences but not an objective,” says recruiter Keirsten Greggs, who points out that objective statements are outdated, and everyone’s objective is the same—to get hired.

Objective statements can be valuable for those seeking a career change or who may be nontraditional candidates. But keep it brief, one to two sentences is plenty.  

Read more: What in the World Is a CV? Should I Be Using One?

Resume Myth #3: You should list all job experience

List relevant experience only for the past 10 years or so. For those who have been in the workforce for more than 10 years, you can begin to tick older experience off your resume. If you are concerned about resume length, this can be a way to trim it down.

Once you’ve been out of college for a few years, cut the part-time jobs and internships you held while in school.

Resume Myth #4: Your resume should include references

“Provide references only when requested,” Greggs says. “That space could be used for other relevant information about yourself.”

More reasons not to include references: You may decide in the interview process that you’re not interested in the job, or the recruiter may choose to contact them before you give the reference details about the position, and that’s not a good look.

Resume Myth #5: Your resume should explain employment gaps

Your cover letter is the best place to explain employment gaps. And you don’t have to explain all gaps, either. Gaps of a few months can be ignored, gaps of a year or more should be addressed.

Read more: 5 Tips for Getting the Job After a Career Break

Resume Myth #6: You should use the same resume for all applications

You should tailor your resume to the job you’re applying for, highlighting the most relevant experience, accomplishments, and metrics.

Many recruiters and hiring managers will actually use software that picks up keywords in resumes to identify which resumes to even read, so tailoring your resume to those words can be an advantage.

Resume Myth #7: Your resume should include your GPA

“Unless GPA was requested, include it only if just completing your degree and it is 3.0 and above,” Greggs says. Though there has been research on how high GPAs can affect women interviewing for jobs.

Once you’ve been out of school for more than a year, remove your GPA.

Resume Myth #8: You should include your graduation date

Much like GPA, unless you’re a recent grad, you don’t need to list your graduation date. This can be especially important if you’re concerned about age discrimination.

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