Interviews, Watercooler

Five Tips To Determine Resume Length

Over the past couple of months, career expert Jeff Hunter has surveyed a group of recruiters and HR managers with the intent of providing job seekers with insight into the hiring process. The list of ten questions inspired interesting responses, including varied answers regarding resumes and resume length. It’s clear that there isn’t a straight forward answer to the age old question of, “How long should my resume be?”

Some of the responses from top recruiters and HR executives included:

1-2 pages for a junior candidate, 3-4 pages for a senior candidate. – Glenn Kwarcinski, Senior Technical Recruiter in the Wireless Technologies Division of Apple.

One page, but I don’t ding people for more than that. – Craig Campbell, Director of Talent Acquisition at Dolby Laboratories.

2 pages….that’s it.  But, I believe a true recruiters’ job is to set interviews, not submit resumes. – Recruiter Sean Rehder.

And Jeff Hunter closes us out with: There is none… but remember that the longer you go, the greater the chance of boring the reader.

Here are five tips to consider as you update your resume and debate the length it should be:

  1. Make sure your resume clearly and succinctly communicates what achievements you accomplished.
  2. Evaluate whether an achievement is best highlighted in your resume, in an interview or perhaps in your cover letter.
  3. Consider whether that job 5 to 20 years ago best supports the job you are after today. For example, you may have had a valuable experience waiting tables at one of the busiest restaurants in your town and really taught you how to multi-task, but does that job readily speak to why you would make a great software engineer at Oracle?
  4. Look at the format of your resume with fresh eyes and consider if a brief paragraph or 5-7 bullets would more easily express what you managed to do in your last few jobs.
  5. Avoid cliff hangers or one-liners that extend your resume on to page 2 or 3. Most often that last hanger line will either be completely ignored, over-analyzed or simply have the potential employer asking, ‘why didn’t they clean that up?!?’

And last, but not least, if you are concerned about resume length even after running through each of these considerations, DO NOT shrink the font size to something barely readable. Recruiters, hiring managers and others who can help get you a job actually want to read your resume, so don’t make it difficult for them to do so.  While, there is no rule of thumb when it comes to the overall length – one to two pages seems to be about average. For your resume, ask yourself if it is direct, informative, insightful and complementary of your skills and experience. No problem, right?!

For more information and tips to help you craft, update, and manage your resume, click here.