The Surprising Truth about Resume Page Length

You may have heard that the accepted length of a resume should be no longer than 1 page.  While this isn’t entirely untrue, it is certainly no longer the hard and fast rule for candidates seeking employment.  It is extremely difficult to condense and consolidate your work experience on paper – so there are a few factors to consider when crafting your resume and determining how long it should be:

  1. Unless you have less than 5 years of work experience, your resume can have 2 pages.  Encompassing over 5 years of work experience can be difficult so there is no reason to short change yourself by limiting the resume to 1 page.  Employers today are comfortable and aware that resumes may now be more than 1 page to adequately illustrate your accomplishments and experience.
  2. If you are applying for Federal jobs, you may be required to have a resume that exceeds 2 pages.  The Federal format for resumes is much more detailed and is typically in a block paragraph format.  Depending on your work experience, the resume may end up being 3 or 4 pages.
  3. If you are applying for a job that requires a Curriculum Vitae (CV), your resume could have as many as 10 pages or more to adequately include publications, projects, and your work experience.  Usually medical professions and international positions will require a CV.
  4. Sometimes a job posting may explicitly state that your resume should be no more than 1 page.  If this is the case, make sure you do as instructed!  This will show your attention to detail and more importantly, not waste too much of the individual’s time that is reviewing your application. 

Resume writing can be nerve racking enough as it is without worrying about how long you should make yours.  Follow these simple guidelines to give yourself peace of mind when submitting your next application!

8 comments

  1. This illustrates the difference in opinions out there. I spoke last week to a HR recruiter. He told me that resumes should be one page long, no exceptions.

  2. I am a industrial maintenance technician and found the one page rule practicaly impossable to follow. My feild has those who are skilled in mechanical, electrical, electronic, pneumatic, hydralic, and robotics. Also in my feild are those such as myself, skilled in many areas. Only listing the last 4 employers my resume is 4 pages single spaced and I receive calls all the time. Most potential employers have expressed thanks for providing more information and without this I doubt I would receive any responces given the diversity in my feild. One thing I found was holding me back was my 20+years in the feild I now started creatively including my age which has greatly increased calls. I started in my profession at 17 while most took untill 25 or later to get into the feild thus employers were under the impression I was close to retirement age and my skills were out dated.

  3. I agree with the above article. I am an HR professional, and have many years of experience, both in private business and government, in interviewing, hiring, and firing.
    I cannot get what I want to see from a one page resume. Maybe I’m just a fast reader, but I want to see more of what a person is about before I even make a decision to interview.
    The person who holds fast to the one page, no exception, rule, tells me they are not really interested in the person, but rather want to herd the people through like a bunch of cattle.
    That’s not how you get a high-quality employee.

  4. I have been in vocational rehab for over 30 years and my job has been to place workers with disabilities in employment. The recommendations here are excellent. Sure, you need to keep the resume brief if you can (ie not unnecessary or redundant material: make every word count!!! BUT at the same time you need to make sure the resume gives the potential employer what he or she needs: material that shows that you are a good fit for the job they are filling. And if it takes two pages, use two pages. Or more for professional jobs.

  5. So true! I just had a phone interview and I was asked to send a more detailed resume because my one page resume that only highlighted my last two jobs which were 7 years and 4 years didn’t reflect all my experience that we discussed during my phone interview.

  6. One thing that I would really like to see from the experts who write these articles is that they actually know how to write properly before dispensing any expert advice. (For example: spelled-out numbers for ‘twenty’ and lower – or at least ‘ten’ and lower – and proper use of punctuation. I have also seen misspellings in articles about ensuring that correct spelling in resumes and cover letters is correct.) Without the use of correct grammar, the words of these “authors” carry a lot less weight and appear much less reliable. My strong opinion on this is based on the common medium being used: in this case, because the advice pertains to the written word, then what is written should at least be correct if not, in a perfect situation, exemplary.

  7. I have just recently left my last job of 30 years, and my resume is nearly three pages long. I asked friend in the same industry as me and has worked for multiple companies and his is five pages long. My wife is a HR professional and agrees with the article. In this age of the resume black hole and automation, if a company is too lazy to go through my resume (and they have not instructed me to provide a one to two page resume) then I really do not want to work for them.

  8. Objective
    Looking for long term, full-time employment to further my position as a Crew Chief Land Surveyor.
    Experience
    2008-2010 JV Burkes & Associates Shawn Burkes .
    1805 Shortcut Hwy (985) 649-0075
    Slidell, La.
    2006-2008 Land Surveying INC Jaron Fitzmorrison
    518 N Columbia St (985) 892-6277
    Covington, La.
    Crew Chief
    *Responsible for field crew on surveying duties of boundary, subdivision, topographic, mortgage and construction projects.
    *Settings corners and calculating boundaries, offsets, operating instruments, levels, keeping field notes and drawn layouts of projects.
    *Working with data collectors, total stations, construction stakeout, mortgage surveys, ALTA, subdivisions, boundary surveys, level loops, Leica GPS system, Top Con instrument, recon calculator.
    *Coordinates the findings with the work of engineering and architectural personnel, clients, and others who are part of the project.
    2002-2006 Kelly McHugh & Associates Kelly McHugh
    845 Galvez St (985) 626-5611
    Mandeville, La.
    1999-2002 Ned R Wilson & Associates Ned R Wilson
    68598 Ambrosia Lane (985) 875-7979
    Mandeville, La.
    1995-1999 Kelly McHugh & Associates Kelly McHugh
    Land Surveyor
    *Responsible for assisting Crew Chief and team in survey duties to determine the location and measurements of lines, areas and contours prior to construction.
    *Duties includes boundary survey, elevation certificates, Lot surveys, locating corners,
    calculating distances from point to point.

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