How a Long Resume Hurts Your Chances
A resume exceeding the standard 1-2 page length is by no means a deal breaker; however, it can hinder your chances of landing an interview for the following reasons:
- It doesn’t highlight the important elements. When you include all of your past jobs, the most impressive and relevant aspects of your work can become buried underneath the non-essential information. The resume does not need to include nuances of how a project came to be. You only have to include details about the context, impact and results.
- It calls your skills into question. Depending on the role you’re applying for, a long-winded resume could cause a prospective employer to doubt your abilities. For example, using a four-page resume to apply for a role as a Communications Director may be sending the message you’re not able to communicate clearly and concisely.
How to Know if Your Resume Should Be One or Two Pages
While most job seekers (and resume writers) would prefer there to be a hard and fast rule about resume length, this is ultimately determined on a case-by-case basis. When deciding whether to cap your resume at one or two pages, consider the following:
- Do you have less than 10 years of progressive professional experience?
- Are you hoping to transition into a new industry where you have limited related experience?
- Have you had less than three employers since college?
If you primarily answered yes to the above questions, you’ll likely be able to contain the best parts of your professional life into a single page.
- Do you have over 10 years of experience relevant to your industry?
- Are you in a technical field, or does the bulk of your experience consist of specialized projects or consulting work?
- Do you have multiple, relevant internships or volunteer roles that you’d like to include?
- Were you promoted in any of your past roles?
- Do you have a list of technical aptitudes or publications that you plan to add in?
If you primarily answered yes to the above questions, a two-page resume will likely be the best way to showcase the full scope of your accomplishments without cluttering the information.
There are often special circumstances which may come into play. For example, if you didn’t graduate from college, or if your early experience was unrelated to your current field, you may want to bury information on a second page where it is less visible to recruiters.
Regardless of length, it’s important to organize your resume in a way that’s consistent and aesthetically-pleasing. In line with this, make sure that you don’t have single bullet lines or incomplete sections hanging off onto an extra page.
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