You might have heard here and there your resume should strictly be one page.
What if you have more valuable stuff you want to add about yourself, though?
Should you limit your resume length to one page someone on the internet said so?
Or should you break the unwritten one-page rule and make your resume two, three, or even more pages long?
The truth is, there is no universal rule. The science of resume length depends on several factors.
Luckily, we’re here to help you figure it out.
This guide will make it easier for you to understand:
- How long should a resume be?
- What is the ideal resume length for your experience level?
- How to fit your resume to one page?
- How long should a CV be?
How Long Should a Resume Be?
In most cases, your resume should NOT exceed one page.
However, if you have 15+ years of experience you can go up to two pages. That exception is ONLY valid if the information is relevant to your desired position.
And remember – anything beyond two pages is a BIG no.
Think of it in this way:
If your whole life was a movie, your resume should only be a movie trailer- brief but containing just the right information to make the audience (your potential employer) interested.
How far back should a resume go?
So what exactly do we mean by “the most relevant experience”?
How far back in time is considered relevant?
Well, 10-15 years is more than enough. Anything before that is considered a relic in the resume world.
It is important to keep the information relevant and up-to-date to the position you’re applying for.
Of course, there are some exceptions when you would want to include older experience:
- You got a very prestigious award from 17 years ago for a career achievement in the field you’re applying for. That’s a good exception.
- You want to change careers and go back to working in Sales but only have experience from 10 years ago to back it up with. In that case, your old sales experience is better than no experience. Don’t be afraid to include it.
How long should a student resume be?
If you are a student and the president of three clubs, volunteer in an animal shelter, won five national olympiads in mathematics, attended ten business conferences, and worked in your aunt’s pizzeria last summer…. we have some news for you:
Your resume still needs to be a single page long.
You are a student and you barely have any real-life industry experience. If you’re writing your resume and see you hit three pages, you are probably doing it wrong.
If you’re finding it difficult to filter out your information, go through every point in your resume and think about what’s actually relevant to the position you are applying for.
Focus on your most impressive academic achievements and competencies in your field of study. Include that senior thesis or capstone project relevant to the job you want to land.
In the end, you might be surprised how everything fits on one page.
What is the ideal resume length for your experience level?
Are you still struggling to figure out how long your resume should be?
Check out our cheat sheet to find out the recommended resume length based on your years of experience.
|Entry-Level or Recent Graduate
|One page maximum
|Up to 5 Years of Experience
|One page maximum
|5 – 15 Years of Experience
|Up to two pages maximum, but not recommended
|15+ Years of Experience
|Up to two pages maximum, but not recommended
How To Fit a Resume in One Page?
Being concise is easier said than done.
It might not be as difficult to fit all the information under one page if you’re an entry-level candidate. But for the more experienced people, the process can get stressful.
Here are some useful tips & tricks on how to keep it short and clean:
- Keep it relevant. It is important for you to go through the job description so you know what the employers are looking for. Write down the skills they are looking for. If you’re applying for a job as a data analyst, you can easily skip your experience as a dance coach.
- Don’t forget your margins. Instead of going with the default 2.5’’ page margins, you can reduce your margins to 0.5’’. This will give more room for your resume.
- Adjust the spacing. Single space your descriptions, and add slightly bigger space between sections instead. This will keep your resume easy to read without taking as much space as double-spacing.
- Try a smaller font. Your employer won’t read your resume from a two-meter distance. You can set an 11 or 11.5 font and enjoy some more room for your one-pager.
- Skip your high school. Here’s the thing – unless you went to a very special school and adding it will be relevant to your desired position, you can exclude it.
- Reformat the skills section. Often, every word in the skills section takes its own line, which is a waste of precious space. What you can do is write your skills in one line and separate them with commas or dots.
- Try an online resume maker. Sometimes it is just easier to let someone do the work for you. You can choose a one-page template and write your information on the already formatted sections.
- Keep it simple in the contact information section. Apply the same trick you learned in the skills section. Write all contact information on one line and separate it with commas, dots, or lines to save space.
- Don’t put too much information about previous job positions. We know it looks cool when your company information, work position, duration, and location each have their own separate line. However, this can push your resume to the second page. Play around with the text and try fitting your information for each work experience entry in two or three lines. Imagine how much space you’re going to save if you apply this trick for all your positions.
- Keep the summary short. Your resume summary is supposed to outline your most valuable qualities for the job. You don’t need to write an autobiography here. Instead, keep your summary two or three lines long and relevant to the job you are applying for.
How Long Should A CV Be?
While job hunting, you might notice some employers are asking for a CV, and others are asking for a resume.
But what exactly is the difference between the two; and can a CV be longer than a resume?
Before we start, we need to clarify that in the EU, a resume and a CV are considered the same thing.
In the US, though, a CV is something completely different from the resume.
A US resume is a document customized for a specific job position. Its preferred length is a single page. The content in a resume is summarized and usually in reverse-chronological order, starting with the most recent or current job position.
On the other hand, a US CV is a detailed document that showcases your career history, skills, and education. It should be chronological and always starts with your educational journey.
Two or three pages is widely considered to be the perfect CV length.
However, the page count might vary depending on your years of work experience, education, and accomplishments.
Let’s go through everything you learned in this article:
- For most professionals, a resume should be one page long. Be selective with the information you put on your resume so it matches the job you’re applying for. Include the most relevant work experience.
- If you have 10+ years of experience, you can go up to two pages only if the information is relevant to the job position.
- To make sure your resume is a single page long, reduce the margins and font. Instead of writing your skills and contact information all on their own lines, try to separate them with dots, lines, and commas to save space.
- The CV is different from a resume because it is more detailed and chronological. The CV is usually used in Academia and its preferred length is two to three pages. However, it can be longer depending on your experience.
If you have reached this point in our guide, you now know how long your resume should be.
Use your newly gained knowledge to create a killer resume and remember – keep it relevant.