One of the frustrating things for job applicants is knowing the accepted resume length in their industry. Some have little content that only fits a single page, while others have information that overflows up to three pages. But even though most people don’t agree on the standard resume page count, they all agree that a successful resume impresses the employer within a few seconds of reading the text. It captures attention fast while showing enough work experience to convince an employer that the individual is indeed the most eligible to fill the vacant position.

How Long Should Your Resume Be?

Nevertheless, there are conflicting opinions regarding the correct page number. So when it comes to a resume, between one, two, or three pages which one has a better chance of helping a job seeker land the dream job position? And if the resume size depends on several factors, when is it ideal to send a document with information reaching three or two pages, or even one-page? Use this informative post to obtain answers to these questions. With this guide, job applicants will know the correct resume length and get practical advice on what needs to be done to ensure a resume reaches the appropriate length.

A Resume That Fits One Page

Recent graduates or people writing their first resume probably have less work history and experience. Thus instead of filling a resume with filler words, an applicant will quickly capture a recruiter’s attention if the information is presented in a one-page document. This resume type is also suitable for candidates seeking entry-level job positions.

Additionally, if the applicant has worked in different jobs yet some are unrelated to the new role, don’t include them. Avoid any unrelated experiences that might be unsuitable yet make a resume longer. Instead, applicants should use the 1 page format to show they have enough transferable skills and are the right fit for the vacant position. When changing careers, the resume should pinpoint only experiences appropriate to the target job.

In some cases, a job applicant may have worked in the same position for several years in the same company. In such a case, they will have a fairly steady experience that may not fill two or even three pages. But if the information doesn’t exceed one page an applicant is able to use the right words to make a memorable first impression.

Even though the resume is short, the information presented should be well-organized. The job application document must also place key text in the right place so that even when an employer chooses to skim the resume, they find the information they need.

A Resume That Fits Two Pages

Want to highlight relevant experiences and achievements in more detail? A resume that fits two pages will assist in meeting this need. The two page resume is suitable for applicants with extensive professional experience acquired in different roles.

For instance, if an individual work experience exceeds six years and has served in different roles and has more than one degree, the several accomplishments clearly won’t fit within one page. But in 2 pages, a candidate will freely include all necessary text and still be able to add keywords that make it more effortless to get past any applicant tracking system. The long document ensures appropriate work history, talents, and knowledge fits within the allocated pages.

In case a previously done job or internships didn’t impart knowledge and skills applicable in the advertised job role, don’t include it. Instead:

  • Focus on the most recent and appropriate experiences.
  • Include professional experience obtained within 10-15 years.
  • Customize a resume to suit a particular job role.

Applicants may fear to add only the most appropriate employment experience as it shines a light on the gap in work history. Candidates can easily remedy that by adding a section on the document titled “Relevant professional experience.” This proves that the candidate has too much professional job experience but has included only those most applicable to the vacant position.

A Resume That Covers 3 Pages

It’s often recommended not to send a long resume (Exceeding three pages). However, some recruiters, especially those in the technical field, would allow applicants to hand in a three-page resume. It’s also ideal for candidates hoping to get hired for senior roles and those with an extensive academic background who need to include research publications. It’s also is suitable for people in academia or those with exceptional achievements and several publications.

The long length can be disadvantageous, especially when filled with complex details. That is why it’s essential to concentrate on the most important points related to education, experience, and unique skills. Even if a job seeker has participated in numerous research projects and published several academic pieces, avoid listing everything. Restrict non-essential information and add only information related to the advertised job.

With the additional space, a candidate has a unique chance to provide extra details on areas of interest. This includes volunteer projects or community work you’ve pursued or been a part of. If you are a recent graduate, add extracurricular activities you were involved with while in university. Ensure the activities mentioned are not religious or politically affiliated as it can result in unconscious biasness.

The Ideal Resume Length: Why is it Important?

While experience, industry, employer’s preference, and job title often determine the resume length, less is always considered more. However, candidates should make their resume more than one page if:

  • If it helps to communicate work history and experiences effectively.
  • The individual has wider transferable skills a hiring manager will pay for.
  • The applicant is a subject expert or leader in their industry.

By choosing the suitable length, a job seeker can fit only the best part, like concentrating on achievements. Middle career professionals would find a 2-page document ideal, while seasoned job seekers should go for resumes that extend up to three pages. Nonetheless, there is no one size fit all. Always consider professional experience as it will guide you on the suitable length to use to ensure all the crucial details are not left out.

Tips and Tricks Job Seekers Should Use to Make Their Resume the Right Length

Sometimes job seekers might need to shorten their resume or make it a bit longer, especially in cases where the individual has numerous qualifications acquired over the years. The trick is to write a draft then add or subtract the content using these listed below practical tips.

Put More Emphasis on Most Recent Experiences

There has been a rapid decline in some jobs. In fact, some have already become obsolete. Chances are high if a candidate adds work experience from an already obsolete job, it won’t make a lasting impression on an employer. So in case a resume is long, but you need to shorten it, check first to ensure it emphasizes the most recent and appropriate experiences. Yes, in some cases, it might be right to add all jobs you have gotten over the years to show career trajectory. But some work opportunities are not appropriate for the advertised position, which is typical when changing professions.

Therefore, for a resume to be within the right size, avoid any work experience not associated with the position you hope to fill. The appropriate professional experience shows the applicant has the required skills and expertise to thrive in the advertised role.

The rule of thumb is to avoid sharing any work experience for employment secured over a decade ago (10-15 years) as it helps to prevent age bias and shine a light on what the applicant is currently capable of. However, this rule doesn’t apply to the educational background because even a degree got a decade ago remains relevant today.

Include Relevant Experience

While having a degree or diploma is often the minimum qualification for most jobs, employers are willing to give a candidate a chance if they have relevant experience. But what counts as relevant job experience? Its prior employment where the skills and knowledge gained are transferable or applicable in the new job. So if you didn’t have the same job title or the exact role before but have past experience that shows you are an excellent fit, mention it in a resume as it can be the unique factor that enables you to stand out.

But avoid including all job experiences. Instead, add only the two to three most relevant job experiences and expound on that by adding bullet points to explain further. Individuals in the early years of their career and who have less work experience should include internships, freelance work, and volunteer projects because they prove the candidate has the industry knowledge and transferable skills.

Avoid Pictures

Some candidates attach pictures and different graphics to add length to their resumes. The issue with this strategy is that applicant tracking systems (ATS) often fail to read graphics. Hence rejects a resume even before an employer reads it. This reduces the chances of landing an interview.

Besides, when the recruiter needs to check the physical traits of candidates, they will go to their social media profiles. Images included in a resume can result in unconscious bias and discrimination. It can also distract recruiters from knowing the candidate’s experience and top-notch skills. Ultimately, candidates that want their experiences, achievements, and skills to be the center of attention when applying for work should not include pictures unless requested by the employer.

Avoid Passive Voice

The right resume tone capture attention from the first line. Using an active voice is a good technique to keep the reader engaged. Active language also demonstrates confidence, ensures the job application document has clarity and passes all applicant tracking systems. On the other hand, a resume with a passive voice is harder to comprehend, boring, and adds unnecessary words that make the document longer. Thus one trick to shorten a resume that always seems to work is to remove passive language.

Active voice helps all written words to be straightforward and more efficient. Thus eliminating any misinterpretation. So review the current document and remove instances of passive voice as it fails to convey the focus content. To avoid passive voice, position the subject on the forefront, begin each bullet with an active verb, and use online tools like a modern grammar checker.

Leisure Activities Should Be Added Last

Adding fun activities and hobbies often don’t cross the mind of job applicants. Besides, if the intention is to shorten the document, alloting a space for fun activities might not be a good idea. The trick is to include any leisure activities if they apply to the advertised role.

Recreations can also support a resume when the candidate has little to no work experience. But before adding the information, consider the picture it will convey and ensure that adding the content will be advantageous. The trick to boosting the success of your job search is to add quality recreation activities suitable to the employment role, for example:

  • Sports, outdoor or physical activities
  • Traveling
  • Reading
  • Digital marketing
  • Public speaking
  • Charity and community service

To include suitable activities, find out more about the organization. List the activities in the final section of the document, and rather than use the standard phrase “hobbies,” name the section personal activities or professional interest.

No Need for a Reference Section

Unless specifically requested by the employer, references should not be included in a resume. This is because it’s so early in the hiring process that most recruiters just want to know whether the chosen candidate fits the vacant role. Therefore, references will only use the limited space that could have been used to add crucial details that impress the employer.

When an applicant is called for an interview, they should bring a list of references already printed. This shows they are excited to start the job. It is ideal to include professional references like a previous employer or professor. Write the references in a list format on a page that begins with the words “professional reference page.” Applicants that have a lot of important details that are worth appearing on a resume are better off removing the references

Use the Appropriate Format and Formatting

With great formatting, documents for securing a job capture the employer’s attention by ensuring the relevant information stands out. But how an applicant formats their resume depends on the industry, background, and goals. The most accepted formats are:

  • Chronological- suitable for those with consistent work history and advancing career.
  • A combination-suitable for those with a diverse employment history.
  • Functional-ideal for applicants changing employment or those with a long gap in employment.

The ideal format must ensure the text remains readable while maximizing the available space. When using an online template, play with settings until the document has a professional appearance and the content is easily digestible. Apply appropriate standard margins to include all the information that ensures all the details fit and fewer blank spaces.

A properly spaced document has one-inch margins and a professional, readable font. The ideal font size is 10 to 12 because anything larger makes the resume uncomfortable to read. It’s good to increase the font if there is less information to present and as a technique to lengthen the document. However, avoid reducing the font. Instead, take advantage of the space to make the information more concise.

When formatting section headers, use bold, underline, and increase the font but don’t exceed 14 points. The idea is to differentiate the text in headers. To stay within one page, but if there is information overflow to the next page, play with the font type and size to shorten the text. For example, if the text was written with 12 points and 1.5 spacing, change the font to 10 or 11 and spacing to 1.0. Make the heading slightly smaller but ensure it is still larger than the text in the main body.

Group Together Information Using Bullets

A bulleted format will assist in effectively communicating the achievements. When reading the resume, in case a paragraph is too long, make the information easier to comprehend by turning it into a bullet point. The ideal place to use them is in the work experience part. But don’t use too many bullet points. The rule of thumb is to add between 3-6 per section, each having one or two-sentence line.

Spread Out The Employment History

Applicants that want to make their resume longer look into work history and find ways to extend the information. Giving an overview of a career and having a deeper look into other roles taken from the previous employment is a good starting point. Shine a light on positions that lead to a promotion or recognition. But always ensure what’s included is always related to the vacant role the applicant is currently hoping to land. Use action verbs to describe the employment history and extend the document length further.

To further stretch out the document, state each job position and years worked. Then go further and state any unique roles and explain the expertise applied that led to the promotion. This writing strategy gives the hiring manager a clear view of the applicant’s professional career and success. It also shows what the individual will bring to their team once hired.

Add Professional Affiliations

Another great strategy to lengthen a resume is to include professional affiliations and volunteer work. Certification proves the individual has unique expertise, an expansive skill set, and dedication to a specific industry. Including professional certificates is a great approach to confirm to the recruiter that the candidate is competent and willing to go above and beyond. If the accreditation is job required, it will enhance a resume, separate the individual from other candidates and present them as the perfect hire.

It is essential to evaluate whether or not including certification boosts or hinders the chances of landing employment. Include certificate in these circumstances:

  • If the employer requests certifications
  • It helps demonstrate any unique and additional skills.
  • It enables the applicant to verify their experience level and prove they are indeed industry experts.
  • If the applicant has limited practical experience

To further make a resume longer, give details on the specific skills that led to receiving the award. This helps to show relevance and uniqueness. If presented correctly, certificates appropriate to the job ascertain you are indeed qualified. Thus motivating the recruiter to see the applicant as a valuable candidate. The perfect place to include certifications is on the following resume sections:

  • Contact information
  • Summary
  • Objective
  • Education

If the individual has several certifications, experts recommend setting aside space in the document and titling it “Additional Credentials.” The next step is to make entries under the title and below each subheading, write the name of the certificate, the date obtained, and the certifying body. To ensure relevance starts with the most recent.

These unique experiences may just set the candidate apart and motivate the recruiter to invite the individual for an interview. Ultimately, when it comes to adding length to the job securing documents, it’s not just about filling it with content. The trick is to think outside the box. The applicant should then determine what unique skills they have that other contenders don’t and which can bring value to an employer.

Tailor the Document to the Job Description

As long as individuals are still looking for employment, they should customize their official documents to suit the job description. That way, only the right information is added, ensuring the employer knows what the candidates bring to the table. Besides, every employer has their own goals and needs. Thus if the candidate customizes their documents to show indeed they are the ideal fit, it will win an employer over and increase the odds of landing the dream position. So don’t hesitate to remove any details that will less likely impress the hiring manager or match the advertised employment position. Reread the resume, make the necessary changes to ensure the document is flawless

Final Thought

While an applicant may opt to use the one-page resume in some cases, they stand a better chance of winning over the employer if the presented documents demonstrate the individual has experience suitable to the vacant position. Besides, an employer won’t disqualify a job applicant because their resume is long or short. So focus on prioritizing important information and draw attention to unique skills and achievements.