Whenever I make a presentation on resume writing, I always ask the same question to participants, namely how long should your resume be?
The answers vary from 1 page, through to 5 or more pages, but the prevailing opinion is that there is some sort of rule set in concrete which must be obeyed, otherwise you could possibly miss out on an interview, if your resume is somehow not the right length.
This misconception as to length is reinforced by countless ‘so called” expert articles circulating around the web, dictating terms as to the exact length. Somehow if you are a graduate, no matter how much voluntary experience you have, you have to stick to the 1-page and if you are a senior executive, keep it to 3 pages or else nobody is going to be interested in the fact that you are the master of your sphere.
I guess these rules about length, came about to encourage people to be concise and to the point. Plus many of the career expert articles originate from America, were employers have greater expectations about the conventional length of a resume (although even this is changing in the USA, where longer resumes for senior executives are becoming more the norm).
So what is the right answer to how long should your resume be?
Well the answer is, as long as needed to convey your experience, knowledge and suitability to the position in question. As an experienced resume writer, I recently wrote an application for a graduate that ran into 3 pages and in the same week, wrote a resume for a senior accountant that just made it to the 3rd page mark. What both resumes had in common is that the content was tailored to the job and included JUST what was required to effectively match the client’s experience with the employer requirements.
You see if you effectively sell yourself as the right person for the job and don’t include information irrelevant to the position, the employer or recruiter is not going to be that concerned about length, so long as their needs are addressed sufficiently, so they think it is worth their time inviting you to interview.
When writing your resume, don’t worry about the length of your document, instead focus on writing a concise document that effectively sells you to any potential employer.
EXCEPTIONS TO THIS RULE:
- If the employer specifies resume length, make sure you meet their exact requirements. If they request a 2-page resume, you must provide a 2-page resume.
- If your resume is 5 or more pages and you are not applying for an academic role, where a long CV is the norm, you need to go back to your document to make sure there is zero fluff, and ALL the content is relevant.
- This advice applies just to Australia. In many countries, there is a greater emphasis on rules regarding resume length.