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How Long Should Your Resume Be?
August 22nd, 2012 by Juliana Weiss-Roessler  Posted in Career Advice, Resume Writing

How Long Should Your Resume Be?Generally, the answer is: as short as it can be. Some people belong to the school of thought that anything over a page is simply too long. It’s just one resume among a pile of dozens or hundreds more, so you need to make your case fast before they move on to the next one.

But here’s the thing: you also don’t want to leave off key experience because you’re trying to artificially cram everything onto one page. The key is to highlight the relevant experience, skills, education, and attributes, and for some, this may require two pages. In the case of senior executives with a lot of time in the workforce, your resume may even be longer. However, if you’re a recent college graduate or someone with just a few years of work experience, there’s no reason to have a resume over one page.

Some people incorrectly believe that having a longer resume will make them look more qualified or accomplished, but if you don’t actually have the experience, simply making it longer won’t fool anyone. In fact, it will just take them longer to get to the information that is relevant and may end up in you being passed over for the position.

What You Can Cut

So how do you know if your resume is as short as it can be? Look it over to see what’s extraneous. Each section and each item should be a selling point that gives the potential employer evidence that you are the right candidate. Here are a few common places where you may be able to cut down - or remove things altogether.

References

It’s no longer customary to include your references on your resume, so this is a great section to cut. If your employer is interested in contacting people for recommendations, you can provide them on a separate sheet. Similarly, you don’t need to include a line that says, “References available upon request.” The potential employer will assume this is the case.

Hobbies

Leave them off unless they directly relate to the job you are applying to. For example, if you’re applying to a marketing position at Harley Davidson, your participation in a local motorcycle club is certainly relevant. The same goes for volunteer work, unless you are including it to show what you did during gaps in your employment.

Objective

Your objective should be pretty clear from just looking at your resume. The exception to this is when you are changing careers or just entering the workforce. If you’re afraid it’s not clear what type of position you’re seeking, you can still work to keep it short and to the point.

Experience from More Than 10 Years Ago

Often, the positions you held when you were first starting out are no longer relevant to your current job search. If you want to make it clear just how long you’ve been working in this field, you can do so by including a bullet point at the top of your resume: “Experienced marketing professional with 20 years in the automotive industry.” And then you can just focus on describing your more recent positions where you held greater responsibilities and made better accomplishments.

Paragraphs

If you’re writing long-winded descriptions for each job you’ve held, it’s probably taking up too much space. Plus, it’s making it harder for your employer to get right to the information that’s important. Instead, try using bullet points and short phrases to get across what you accomplished in each job. Also, try not to be redundant. If you have a skills section where you list things like faxing, copying, email, computer skills, drafting memos, etc., then it’s fine to simply list “Performed clerical duties” under a specific job rather than listing those specific skills again. 
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