Three or More Pages May Be Best for Senior-Level Executives


For executives at the highest levels (senior management, executive VP, and “C-level” positions such as CEO, CIO, CTO, COO) even two pages is probably not enough for a resume; three, four, or more pages may be required. “At executive levels, the resume must be long enough to deliver the extensive information that decision-makers need to make an initial assessment of suitability for the position/interview (typically a director-level to C-level job),” Dib asserts. Experts like Dib who specialize in executive resumes cite several reasons for multi-page resumes at the top echelons: “Decision-makers have a much larger scope of need than just skill sets or even accomplishments,” says Dib. “They need to see the ‘intangibles’ that make a great leader, including … vision, proven long-term leadership, agility and flexibility to proactively meet the lightening-fast changes in the marketplace, well-honed change-management skills, thought leadership, demonstrated ethics and integrity, the guts/ability to make and implement tough decisions, and even a dash of charisma. This cluster of tangible and intangible skills cannot reach critical mass in a one-page resume or even in a two-page resume.” Adds Roberta Gamza of Career Ink, “The hiring company will be making a huge investment and risking quite a bit on a candidate, so they need to know much more about the candidate than can fit on two pages. A chief executive resume can go to three, four, or more pages, or may have a portfolio of several documents.” It’s just too risky to make a blunder in hiring a top executive, says Laurie J. Smith, president of Creative Keystrokes Executive Resume Service. “In today’s unforgiving economy and cutthroat markets, a mistake in hiring of top-level leadership can spell doom for a company. To make an informed hiring decision, a greater level of detail on a candidate’s experience, education, management style, problem-solving skills, and delivered results is critical.” Further, Smith points to the negative way a senior-level job-seeker may be perceived if his or her resume is not a multi-pager: “I have spoken with multiple recruiters over the years who have remarked that when they receive a one- or two-page resume from a high-level candidate, the immediate question they have is: ‘What’s the matter with this candidate and why don’t they have more to tell me?’ To adequately present a senior executive’s qualifications commonly requires a three- to four-page, sometimes even a five-page presentation.” Smith also observes a lack of success in landing interviews among execs with puny resumes. “As a specialist in executive resume writing, I occasionally encounter an executive who is under the mistaken impression that he or she needs to restrict his or her resume presentation to one or maximum two pages. Typically, this executive has been looking for quite some time with no results.”