Beware of the Too-Long Resume

BUILD MY RESUME

Hiring decision-makers surveyed for the book, Top Notch Executive Resumes identified this as one of their Top 30 Executive Resume Pet Peeves: Top Notch Executive Resumes Resume is too long. While there is no consensus among employers and recruiters about resume length, most feel one page is too short. Maureen Crawford Hentz, manager of talent acquisition, development and compliance at Osram Sylvania, Boston MA, particularly disdains “abbreviated or ‘teaser’ resumes” that urge the recruiter, “for more information, call me.” Many recruiters believe that two pages is about the right length; for some, three pages is the outside limit that they will read. “If the resume is longer than two pages, it needs to be well worth it,” noted Hentz’s colleague at Osram Sylvania, Harlynn Goolsby. Others question executives’ ability to prioritize if their resumes are longer than two pages. Since recruiters pass candidate resumes on to client employers, they must also consider employer preferences. “Most of my clients profess that they are too busy to read anything lengthier — thus, I deliver what they require,” said Chris Dutton, director at Intelligent Recruitment Services and Owner, Intelligent IT Recruitment, Manchester, UK. Recruiter opinions about resume length have been colored in recent years by the growing practice of reading resumes on a computer screen rather than printing them. Resumes that might seem too long in print are acceptable on screen. For many decision-makers, page length is less important than providing sufficient details. “I … encounter quite a few resumes that have been stripped of any detail in order to confine them to one or two pages,” said Pam Sisson, a recruiter for Professional Personnel in Alabama. “My immediate response is to ask for a more detailed resume. A resume that’s three or four pages but actually shows the qualifications and experience necessary for a position is much preferred, in my opinion, to one that has cut out all the substance to meet some passe idea of a one-page resume.” John Kennedy, senior IT recruiter at Belcan, agreed: “Resume length is of very little importance so long as the information is accurate, verifiable, and pertinent to the position. If a candidate has 20 years of experience directly relating to the position being applied for and that experience is verifiable, it should be listed even if the resume goes four-plus pages.” See all 30 peeves: executive resume peeves 1-10 in Part 1, executive resume peeves 11-20 in Part 2 and executive resume peeves 21-30 in Part 3.

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