Dispelling Resume Length Rumors
There is no “rule” that a resume should be a specific page length. Length alone does not determine resume effectiveness.
Yet, page length rumors persist.
Job seekers are being misled that recruiters, hiring managers, and HR professionals won’t read a resume that is longer than one page. That’s simply not true.
While most resumes are only read for only seconds when first screened, the first review is simply to determine a match. If the applicant is considered a serious candidate, the resume will be read again – in more detail.
Regardless of length, if the person reading the resume decides you’re not a match for the job, he or she will stop reading it. But if you fit job requirements and share compelling content, that person will want to know more.
When hiring managers and HR professionals are surveyed about resume length, the general consensus is: “as long as needed to convey qualifications”… and not one word more. This means writing ‘lean and clean’ to maintain a reasonable length, while still providing quality content to support decision-making. A fine line.
Here are some guidelines for keeping resume length in check:
- If your resume spills over onto a second or third page for only a few lines, it’s worth editing the text or adjusting the font, margins, and/or line spacing to reduce pages.
- Don’t bury key information on the second page. If the first page doesn’t hook the reader, he or she isn’t going to read additional pages.
- Don’t be afraid to go beyond two pages if your experience warrants it. Senior executives often require three pages to convey a robust career. Yet content should still be customized and value-driven.
- Make sure that everything you include — regardless of length — is relevant to your job target and what the hiring manager will want to know about you!? Focus on metrics and achievements; not tasks. This strategy will keep details in check.
- Finally, keep in mind that resumes submitted online or through ATS are less likely to be affected by specific page lengths. That’s because page length is unique to the printed page. Resumes uploaded to company websites or ATS aren’t affected by page limits and sometimes not printed at all.
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