On average, recruiters and prospective employers do not spend a long time looking at a resume, which is why it's important to grab their attention quickly. Your resume formatting plays a large part in determining whether or not your resume receives a second look. In addition to having the right content, it is critical to make sure your resume is the right length.
What Is the Right Length for a Resume?
The ideal resume is one or two pages, depending on the type of job you're applying to and your previous experience. For many jobs, a single page resume is sufficient when it comes to communicating your key experiences and job-related knowledge. However, for individuals with extensive experience, two pages may be necessary. Keep in mind this basic rule of thumb when it comes to resume formatting; you should include one page for every 10 years of experience. Unless there are specific circumstances for a particular job, limit your resume to two pages or less.
When Is It Permissible for My Resume to Be Longer Than One or Two Pages?
In some cases, resume formatting longer than one or two pages is acceptable. Many job recruiters in the realm of academia, for instance, will want to see publications, speaking engagements at conferences and other job-related experience that may differ from the main experience communicated in a resume. If your added experience would be beneficial to include for the position, consider adding a separate page to your resume labeled as an addendum. This will help show that you have summarized your experience succinctly in your resume while also adding necessary information.
What If I Have Too Much Experience?
If you have more than 10 years of work experience or have had particularly fruitful work experience, you may find yourself struggling to reduce your work history to a single page. In this case, utilizing two pages is acceptable, and it is much preferred to cutting out relevant experience and skills. If you find yourself going on to a third page with your resume, take a hard look at your experiences and prioritize information that is relevant to the position for which you are applying. You may find yourself submitting different resumes for different jobs, depending on the qualifications each position requires.
What If I Don't Have Enough Experience?
If you are applying for an entry-level position, have just graduated from an academic program or are changing careers, you may not think you have enough experience to fill out even a single-page resume. However, to get a second look, your resume formatting should fill a page in a normal typeface and font size. In addition to any work experience, add a section enumerating your key strengths or elaborate on extracurricular activities or educational experiences related to the job for which you are applying. However, you shouldn't falsify or embellish information to boost the word count. Including relevant, non-work experience, such as volunteer work, will help round out a one-page resume and add valuable skills and information about your character.
Depending on your own experience and the type of job you're interested in, your resume formatting, especially the length, will be what differentiates you from your competition. In general, keep your resume to one or two pages. Include the job experiences that make you stand out, but try to do so in a succinct way. For more help in determining the right length for your ideal resume, you may find recommendations and advice on LiveCareer helpful.