How long should a resume be?
Most resumes should be one page. If you have extensive, relevant experience, you might have two or more pages. But ultimately, your resume should be as long or as short as it takes to show that you’re qualified for the job.
“For most applicants, a page should suffice,” ResumeLab editor-in-chief Bart Turczynski says.
“However, if the candidate has more than five-plus years of work experience, it is natural that it should and will be longer. That said, even seasoned veterans should still have an upper limit and not exceed three pages.”
According to Jenia Xayamountry at Jobscan, “one-page resumes are ideal for students, recent grads, entry-level job seekers, or in-person networking.” If you find yourself padding out your resume just to make it longer, ask yourself whether everything there is relevant to proving your qualifications for the job.
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Can a resume be too long or too short?
Yes, a resume can be too long or too short.
Tina Callison, owner and lead resume writer at Loud Resumes LLC, says, “If a job candidate leaves off critical experience because they are trying to keep their resume to a certain length, then it’s too short. At the same time, if a resume rambles on and on for several pages, it is likely that a hiring manager has lost interest, so it is too long.”
When can I use a two-page resume?
If you have extensive work experience or a long list of accomplishments or publications, you’ll probably need more than a single page for your resume. Executives, those in the C-suite, and those very senior in their fields will often need two or even three pages.
If your resume is expanding onto a second or third page, yet all of the information is relevant, don’t sweat it. “Hiring managers would rather see all of your qualifications than only see a snippet that is crammed all onto a single page,” Callison says.
How do you decide what to include on your resume?
The goal of a resume is to introduce yourself to a potential employer and show your most important experience and qualifications for the role.
“To determine what should be included on a resume, the best place to look is in the job posting or job description,” Callison says. “Go through each qualification listed on the posting and try to make sure that your resume clearly shows how you meet that qualification.”
Callison also recommends using resume buzzwords. “It will be even more effective if you use the same wording or phrases from the job posting when you describe your experience.”
How do you decide what to leave out?
Always edit your resume according to the job description. Callison: “To decide what to leave out of your resume, go through each sentence or bullet point, and ask yourself how it relates to the job posting. If it doesn’t relate at all, chances are you can leave it off.”
“Work experiences that are not relevant (or outdated), hobbies, volunteer work, and references are all optional,” Turczynski says. “While they can certainly make your resume more well-rounded and three dimensional, they’re a nice to have and certainly not mandatory.”
But choose those hobbies carefully. If you’re a registered dietician/nutritionist, you might include rock climbing and hiking on your resume, but it’s probably best to omit your interest in woodworking.
About our sources
Bart Turczynski is a career expert and the editor-in-chief at ResumeLab. His career advice and commentary has been published by the Financial Times, CareerBuilder, Chicago Tribune, Thrive Global, Glassdoor, etc.
Jenia Xayamountry helps discover and nurture new and current talent at Jobscan. Prior to joining the company, she spent several years working in program management, HR, and college admissions for several different organizations and startups. Jenia holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Washington.
Tina Callison is the owner and lead resume writer at Loud Resumes LLC. She has been a professional resume writer for the past eight years and is passionate about helping job seekers reach their career goals.