Scott Thompson
Scott Thompson

How long should a resume be?

One of the most frequent questions I receive is about resume length.  How long should a resume be?   Unfortunately, it isn’t a simple answer as your resume should be as long as it needs to be.  In the past when people actually sent paper resumes – in the mail – it was pretty set that your resume should only be one page.  However, we now live in a digital world and I think that his affords you a little more freedom.  However, this doesn’t change the purpose of your resume – it is an advertisement to get someone to call you and ask for more information.   This is the key concept that you need to remember.  Again, I’ll repeat, your resume is an advertisement to make someone want to learn more and is not your life story.  So, how do you decide what is important?

Helpful Hints

What to keep?

I think that this is the hardest part.  You need to look at everything on your resume and ask.  Does this help me get a job?  Start with the basics – name, contact information, education – all of these should go on there.  Your job history in chronological order.  All of these things are essential and must go in a resume.

What to get rid of?

Everything else!  Honestly it is almost that simple.  Personal information about your family – out!  Hobbies – get rid of it.  High school – don’t even think about it!

Pulling it all together

So, you’ve followed my tips and your resume is still over two pages.  What do you do?  This is the hard part.  First of all, you need to focus on recency.  Your resume needs to only go back 10 years.  If you have more than ten years’ experience and it is relevant you can definitely share it but leave out the bullet points.  Secondly, look at your bullet points – are they complete sentences?  If so work to shorten them.  Are you using bullet points?  If not you should.  At the end of the day your resume should be short, easy to read, and quick.  I once read a study that you have 7 seconds to make an impact!  Do your best and make yours count!

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