How long should your resume be? Well, it’s simple really: your resume should be exactly 1, 2, 3, or more pages.
“Wow,” you’re thinking. “That doesn’t help me one single bit.”
Let me explain. What I mean is, your resume should be exactly 1 full page, exactly 2 full pages, exactly 3 full pages, or perhaps more than 3 pages … all depending on your unique level of expertise.
“Right. That doesn’t help either.”
Okay for real this time, let me help you narrow it down …
CRITERIA FOR A 1 PAGE RESUME:
Typically, your resume should be 1 page if you are just out of high school, if you are a recent college graduate, if you are targeting a job that pays between $20,000/yr and 50,000/yr, and if you have less than 5 years of work experience.
In fact, if you are a recent high school or college grad, your resume should never be more than 1 page.
The only exception to this is if you were a non-traditional college student with several years or work experience, or if you’ve had extensive industry-related internships.
But just because you are more qualified than that doesn’t mean you should necessarily jump to 22 pages. I have seen and personally created a lot of highly effective 1 page resumes for quite experienced workers. Why? Because contrary to our intuition, less is always more when it comes to creating an eye-catching, relevant resume.
CRITERIA FOR A 2 PAGE RESUME:
Your resume should probably be 2 pages if you are a qualified, proficient employee with good credentials, 5-25 years of experience and are targeting a job that pays between $50,000/yr and $100,000/yr. Most candidates for a 2 page resume also already have their bachelor’s degree (at minimum), and/or have been running their own business for several years.
Most experienced workers that work with us at Cold Collar fall into the 2 page resume category. Chances are that if you’re reading this, there is a good probability that you are a 2 page resume prospect.
But, just because you can make it 2 pages, doesn’t mean you should.
While it is in no way rare to be in this category (in fact, most probably are), hear me out on this: if you think you can fit all of your information easily onto 1 page, it is much better to do it in FEWER pages than to add a bunch of dangerous resume FLUFF just to fill 2 pages.
Remember, when you can convey the same information with fewer words and fewer sheets of paper, you should ALWAYS do so.
CRITERIA FOR A 3 PAGE RESUME:
If you fit the above criteria for a 2 page resume and are tempted to add a 3rd page just to make yourself look better, resist the urge! Less is
more. Succinctness is a virtue in the laws of resume-writing.
Honestly, the only reason you should have 33 pages is if you are applying for a high-level executive-type position or are highly qualified for a very specific field. You should probably have a Ph.D. and already have built several years of experience as an executive (CEO, COO, CFO etc.) somewhere. You’ve got to be among the elite to qualify, and if you are not, then you’re only hurting yourself by using 3 pages.
A 3 page resume is a VERY rare thing, and something you never want to use unless you are highly qualified and have TONS of results over several years that just won’t fit on 2 pages.
As Tony Beshara points out in his book, “Unbeatable Resumes,” only 5% of hiring managers want to see a resume that is more than 2 pages. If your resume fits into the desires of that elite 5% then that’s okay: just know that you are treading into dangerous territory. If you’ve got even the least bit of doubt, or if you think you probably need to put your resume onto 2 pages, I highly recommend that you consult an executive resume writing service.
CRITERIA FOR A RESUME THAT IS LONGER THAN 3 PAGES:
Your resume should be more than 3 pages if … NEVER!
If you have a resume that is longer than 3 pages, then it either needs to be cut down or it is not actually a resume. Some employers require that you submit a doc that is longer than 3 pages, particularly for scientific and teaching positions, but that is not technically a resume. That is called a curriculum vitae, and it’s a whole different ball game – one that does not fall within our range of expertise. You can check out other resources for the curriculum vitae here and here.
If you are having trouble deciding how long your resume should be, please feel free to ask a member of our team when you sign up for a free resume review. If you are considering purchasing a professional or executive resume service, then please feel free to contact us for more details by calling (419) 482-8566, visiting theCold Collar Website, or emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org