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December 12, 2017

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The Final Word on Resume Length

The resume length controversy continues. Jobseekers are constantly wondering how long their resume should be. Like most things in life, the answer isn’t cut and dry. It depends on your career level and the amount of relevant experience needed to sell yourself on paper. Below is a quick rundown that will guide you in the right direction.

There are times when a one-page resume will work in your favor if you fall into the following category:

• You are a recent college graduate. The reason is obvious. You don’t have a lot of experience to include so a one-pager will work well for you.

• You are an entry level professional. For the same reason as above. There are exceptions, of course. For example, professionals in the IT industry may need a longer resume even if they have limited work experience due to the listing of software, hardware, operating systems, etc., that need to make an appearance on the resume. Such listings can bump the resume to two pages.

• You have been with the same employer for many years. Normally when you’ve stayed with an organization for years and you have moved up the ladder, each of the positions you held don’t need to be fleshed out. The last two positions, and sometimes only the last position, are the ones that take up real estate on the resume. The rest of the job titles get a small mention or listing. As such, it is conceivable your resume will end up being one page. But if it ends up being two pages, that’s fine too. There’s no hard and fast rule.

A two or three page resume can work best for you in the following circumstances:

• You are an executive. Executives need more room to flesh out their experience. The resume reader expects the resume to run a couple of pages so don’t shy away from providing the reader with the full breadth of your resume.

• You are changing careers. Many career changers require a combination resume to ensure their relevant experience appears towards the top of the resume. And for the most part, combination resumes run longer than the functional or chronological resume.

• You have more than ten years’ experience across multiple companies. It goes without saying that the more jobs you have the more of a story you have to tell. That said, resist the urge to include experience information from thirty years ago. Your resume should focus on the last ten to fifteen years of your career. The reason is twofold: going back too far will age you. Though we don’t like to admit it, ageism does exist in the job market. Secondly, you don’t want to overwhelm the reader with too much information. Reality is, what you accomplished in the 70s and 80s is probably not relevant. Industries and technology has changed a lot since then.

So there you have it, an overview that can serve as a guide while you’re working on your resume.

Written by Linda Matias, NCRW, CIC, JCTC, owner of CareerStrides. Visit her website at www.careerstrides.com or email your resume to linda@careerstrides.com for a free resume quote.


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