How Long Should My Resume Be?

3/1/2016
Utah Career News

How Long Should My Resume Be?

If you’re still looking for your new career and it’s been a while since you updated your resume, maybe it’s time for a new resume. Unfortunately, our friend Oprah cannot update your resume for you. Here are a few facts to keep in mind when updating your resume:

Your resume is not an autobiography; it’s a career marketing tool. Make sure you keep your resume concise and targeted on your key selling points. Let go of past experiences that don't market you for your current goal no matter how good you think it looks. Every word in the resume should sell your credentials and value to a potential employer. Just make sure you also leave something to talk about in the interview.

It's now common for employers or recruiters to sort through hundreds, or even thousands, of resumes to fill one position. To manage the amount of data, they are starting to process resumes electronically having computers do the sorting based on key words before they even look at the resume. In fact, recruiters or hiring managers often give resumes just a cursory glance before deciding if the applicant deserves to be added to the "maybe" pile. While your resume will probably get a more thorough read if you are called for a job interview, ensure that your strongest selling points are immediately visible to make the first cut.

Consider a Three-Page Resume or Longer If:
  • You're a senior-level manager or executive with a long track record of leadership accomplishments.
  • You are in an academic or scientific field with an extensive list of publications, speaking engagements, professional courses, licenses or patents.

Consider a Two-Page Resume If:
  • You have 10 or more years of experience related to your goal.
  • Your field requires technical or engineering skills, and you need space to list and prove your technical knowledge

Consider a One-Page Resume If:
  • You have less than 10 years of experience.
  • You're pursuing a radical career change, and your experience isn't relevant to your new goal.
  • You've held one or two positions with one employer.

Once you’ve decided how long your resume should be, start by putting the most important information at the top of the first page. Lead your resume with a Career Summary section so your key credentials appear at the forefront of the resume. On the second page, include a page number and your name and contact information.

Multiple-page resumes can also use addendum pages after page two. Job seekers can decide whether to send the full document or just the first two pages to a potential employer, based on the job opportunity requirements.

When you’re finished with your resume makeover, make sure you upload it to the pertinent job boards like Monster.com, CareerBuilder.com and UtahCareerNews.com.

You might even want to send it to Oprah!


Good Hunting

Bob Madigan
Utah Career News Staff Writer