The reality of job hunting is that potential employers judge you largely by the first impression they receive: your resume.
Don’t mar this initial snapshot of yourself by writing a resume that’s too long, too short, or that doesn’t contain the right information.
Why does resume length matter?
Most employers receive hundreds (or more) resumes for a single opening. If you are a candidate with less than 10 years of experience, but you submit a resume that’s 3 pages long, the hiring manager may feel frustrated and less likely to pursue your application.
Back when most resumes were submitted via some physical delivery system like fax or mail, it was easier for pages to get lost in translation. Now, these documents are usually submitted via email or web portal, but this digital era holds brevity next to godliness—a more concise resume is a more desirable resume.
With all of this in mind, you’re inevitably left with a few logistical questions: how long should a resume be? How many pages should a resume be? How can I conserve space without losing value? There are right and wrong ways to tackle each of these questions.
How long should a resume be?
Conventional wisdom dictates that you should try to keep your resume to one page. The only exception to this rule is if you have extensive experience in the field to which you’re applying (which is only likely if you’ve worked in it for around a decade).
This means that you can go longer than a page if necessary, but it’s unlikely that you’ll need to.
Resume length is variable depending on the individual, so how many pages a resume should be depends somewhat on how many pages you absolutely need to convey an accurate picture of yourself as a candidate. If you are just starting out professionally, a one page resume should be plenty.
Young professionals often grapple with the length of resumes more than any other aspect of the document, so if you still find yourself asking, “how long should my resume be?” or you can’t seem to pare down the length, consider using a free resume builder.
How can resume length be reduced?
If the length of your resume extends just slightly beyond that ideal one page mark, there are a few simple tips you can employ to cut the length down.
Play with fonts — some fonts are smaller than others, so which one you use can help you cut down on your resume length. Try out a few different ones, but don’t veer into the territory of overly-stylized or difficult to read.
Condense your wording — there’s no need to write flourishing descriptions of your work experience for your resume. Get to the meat of the information as quickly as you can.
Decrease margins — standard margins can cut several inches of usable space out of your document. You can reduce them (to a reasonable degree) for some extra room on the page.
Reduce spacing — norms like double spacing shouldn’t be used in a resume. Try to strike a happy balance between a spaced out, aesthetically pleasing page and one that crowds too much information.
Get creative — the design of your resume can be both visually dynamic and professional. Oftentimes, an unusual design will allow you to fit more information on one page; our free resume builder can help you with this.
Beyond these quick fixes, consider what sort of content you’re including and stack that up against how long a resume should be.
When you’re aiming to keep your resume at about one page, you probably don’t want to include civic activities from high school or part-time jobs (unless, of course, they relate directly to the position for which you’re applying).
How to get write a resume of the ideal length
As confusing as it may feel at first, figuring out how many pages a resume should be isn’t all that complicated. Aim for a one page resume that concisely details relevant education, work history, and skills. If you’re precocious and simply have too much relevant experience to fit on that first page, then it’s okay to expand into the two page range.
Don’t leave any part of the job hunt up to chance. Consider what’s worth including on your resume, write out a rough draft, and then utilize a resume template to create a visually appealing, organized resume that’s exactly the right length!