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How Long Should a Resume Be? A Basic Guide

Resume

Did you know you only have seven seconds to catch a recruiter’s eye with your resume? That doesn’t seem like all that long to impress them with your skills and experience. But, crucially, while those seven seconds are pivotal, they’ll happily read on if you can grab their attention.

So, how long should a resume be? It needs to fill more than a few seconds, as while it’s easy to pique interest, you still want to demonstrate you’re the right person for the role.

Here’s how to make your resume the perfect length for any role.

Don’t Succumb to the One-Page Myth

Somehow, the idea of keeping resumes to one page or less became inexplicably popular. Don’t do that!

You can’t possibly do your prior career and qualifications justice on a single page. Likewise, you can’t build a narrative around what you’ve done before. Whether you’re a fresh graduate or have spent decades in the field, there’s likely more to who you are and what you’re capable of than a single sheet.

The only exception is if you’re genuinely unable to spread your history over more than one page. Fluff and filler are big no-nos in the recruitment world. If you manage to bore a hiring manager to sleep before they even meet you, it doesn’t stand you in good stead for the role ahead!

Two is the Magic Number

No matter the industry or role, always assume you have two sheets to work with when finalizing your resume. It’s short enough to ensure you can catch a recruiter’s eye with a quick skim but long enough to tell them why you’re the ideal candidate.

If you find your resume coming out slightly too short or too long when applying for jobs, consider a professional resume builder. These tools will prompt you for more information if you hit writer’s block and come up short. Likewise, if you go over the magic number, it could provide design tweaks or suggestions to make everything more concise.

How Long Should a Resume Be If You’re Vastly Experienced?

You want to stick as closely to two pages as possible in most cases. However, there are different types of resumes in some sectors. If you have rare, unique skills, you might have to go over the limit to stand any chance of getting the job.

Ideally, you only want to go back ten to fifteen years in your career history. However, if what makes you ideal for the role happened before that, you’re justified in extending that timescale slightly.

Take Your Resume to the Next Level

So, there we have it. If you’re wondering how long should a resume be, you’ll find that two pages are almost perfect. There’ll be times when you have to bend the rules slightly, and it’s vital to remember that resume length won’t make or break your job prospects. Just remember that it’s not time for War and Peace!

Discover more great resume tips and other guides to boosting your job search right here on the blog!

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