You may have heard about the “one-page rule” when it comes to resumes, and to be honest, we’re not even sure where it came from. Which begs the question: how long should a resume be?
The truth is a resume should be as long as it needs to be. Yes, that sounds vague, but it really depends on the breadth and depth of your job history. So, it might be one page for some people at the entry level, but it might be four pages for other more seasoned professionals.
The goal is to make sure that you’ve included all pertinent information about your skills and accomplishments to catch the hiring manager or recruiter’s attention – and to match the specific job posting you’re applying for. What you don’t want to do is water down your accomplishments, so they fit into some arbitrary page count.
Here are some other resume tips to remember.
You may have been taught to add everyday tasks by using professional sounding words, but this is really just “fluff” that can be eliminated. Stuff like:
These really don’t tell the recruiter anything about your job performance or your skill set. It’s already expected that workers can communicate, use Microsoft Word (especially in a highly skilled sector or office setting), and act professional. You can leave these off your resume and focus on the important items.
Hobbies and interests as a resume category is one of those odd things that somehow became a trend. Maybe your intention is to add some personality or something interesting about yourself to stand out, but that’s what the screening call or job interview is for.
Another example of something you can leave off is the summer job you had when you were in high school – unless it is directly related to the job you’re applying for, or you’re just starting out and that’s your only job experience. If you’ve been in your field for a while, you can leave out the odd jobs you had during school.
Under every job you do, your goal is to show some of your accomplishments and contributions. As a whole, your resume should tell the story of your career progression, so if you’ve been promoted or increased your skills, you’ll want to share those highlights.
Also worth noting about bullet points is that they are not sentences, so they shouldn’t have periods. And when at all possible, include hard numbers. If you were a lead, how many people were under you? If you were handling tickets, how many did you troubleshoot and resolve? Recruiters and hiring managers like to see applicants who produce results, and numbers and data can help them quantify the value you’d bring to the organization.
Remember, you’re not looking to keep your resume to one page, but at the same time, it doesn’t need to be a novel. Here are some tips depending on what your job history entails.
If you want to sell your house, you wouldn’t just post a photo of the outside of it, right? You’re going to show multiple interior photos, talk about all of its attributes, and share what makes it a great home. Your goal is to persuade someone to want to come and look at it.
Likewise, with your resume, you are selling yourself on a piece of paper. Be proud of what you’ve done and don’t sell yourself short by leaving things out, but don’t necessarily tell your whole life story either. As long as you include the key facts that would make a recruiter want to learn more about you, it will be the perfect length.
Looking for more resume tips? Learn How to Build an Eye-catching Tech Resume.
Photo Credit: Canva