A Quick Guide to Resume Lengths

BUILD MY RESUME

Among the resume “rules” you may have heard is the one in which resumes should be limited to one page. While it’s true that most entry-level job-seekers should try to limit their resumes to a single page, this length is rarely appropriate for those at senior and executive levels. Top-level job-seekers will find it virtually impossible to capture the breadth of their experience and accomplishments in a single page, and some employers expect longer resumes from those candidates, sometimes up to five pages. In a 2007 survey by Accountemps, a specialized staffing service, only 7 percent of senior executives from human resources, finance and marketing departments favored one-page resumes for executives, while 61 percent favored two pages. Respondents were receptive to three-page resumes for executive roles, with nearly a third (31 percent) citing this as the ideal length. One-page resumes can be useful for candidates in certain situations, such as networking, in which the job-seeker wants to give potential network contacts a thumbnail glance at his or her career. A summary of guidelines on resume length:
  • One page is usually preferred for college students and new grads, but those with rich campus backgrounds and work/internship experience may need two pages.
  • Two-page resumes are suitable for many job-seekers.
  • Three or more pages may be required at the senior level.
  • Job-seekers should never sacrifice readability (tiny type, narrow margins) just to squeeze a resume into a certain number of pages.
  • When a resume spills onto an additional page, it should fill up at least half of that page. If not, try to condense.
See our article, The Scoop on Resume Length: How Many Pages Should Your Resume Be? for a variety of opinions and guidelines on resume length.

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