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How long should my resume be?

Resume writing is one of the most important elements of a job search, and it can be overwhelming for job seekers, especially those who have never had to write a resume before or haven’t updated their resume in a while.

Determining resume length is easier than it would appear. No matter the stage of your career, your resume should be as concise as possible and as long as necessary to win job interviews.

How long should a resume be?

Before deciding how long your resume should be, it’s important to understand what your resume is for in the first place: to land job interviews. It’s not an autobiography or laundry list of job description details. It’s a marketing piece with the sole purpose of “selling” you to your next employer.

Regardless of your experience level, your resume should only be as long as it needs to be in order to get hiring managers to call you. Does a resume have to be one page? No! But if you’re a recent grad with zero work experience, it probably should be. Is a three-page resume too long? Probably. But not if you’re an executive with 20 years of experience and tons of achievements.

Most entry-level professionals will have no problem keeping their resume length to a single page. But some professionals with a brief work history (or no paid experience at all) have plenty of worthwhile information to include such as impressive school projects, internships, community service, and awards. Cramming all those details into a single page would affect the reader’s ability to skim the document.

If you’re an experienced professional and can keep your resume to one page while also telling enough of your career story to entice hiring managers to call you, that’s great! But if you can’t, don’t start deleting valuable information from your job description or using tiny font sizes and margins to squeeze everything into a single page. 

You should never feel like you need to choose between creating a resume that’s easy to read or one that is on a single page. Depending on your background and current career aspirations, a multi-page resume may be completely appropriate.

However, if your resume is three pages long because your career history includes irrelevant part-time jobs from the 80s, some cuts are absolutely in order. There are several formatting strategies and techniques you can use to minimize resume length, and you should use all the tools at your disposal to make sure you create a resume that is inviting and easy to read as well as thorough and persuasive.

 We’ve all heard that hiring managers spend mere seconds initially reviewing a resume. But, this doesn’t mean your resume has to be one page; it means that everything you include on your resume must work to your advantage.

Follow this resume advice: always keep your audience in mind, and you can be confident your resume is worthy of job interviews.