How Long Should My Resume Be?
If you’re a sales professional, you must take the time to put together a crisp resume. The more experience you have, the longer the resume becomes. How do you know if your resume it too long? Just about everyone from your next-door neighbor to your old boss has an opinion on your resume. The more people you ask, the more varying opinions you’ll get!
These views will often contradict each other. How do you know what to do? Who should you listen to for advice? Take it from a recruiter—we look at thousands of resumes, often a hundred a day, sometimes more.
5 Reasons Why Your Resume Should be Two Pages
1. Attention Spans are Short: No one reads resumes word-for-word before deciding whether to pick up the phone and start a conversation with you. They may read it in greater detail later, but first, they will decide whether to call you or not. No call, no interview. Your resume should get hiring managers to pick up the phone and call you. If you want to provide a more detailed work history, you can do that during the interview process.
2. Time is Limited: There are more applicants than jobs. For every job, there are at least 200 applicants. Granted, 195 of them may not be remotely qualified, but if you must give 195 no’s, and are on long streaks of giving no’s as 195 of them would suggest, you need to make your resume crisp and highlight outcomes that are outstanding. For most of us, that won’t take more than two pages. Leave out mundane details and ‘job duties.’ Get right to the point. Send the abridged version.
3. Resumes that are Too Long Often Imply Negative Traits: If your resume is three pages or more, a few assumptions will be made. One, you talk too much. If a hiring manager called you, you’d go on for too long and eat up a lot of time. Hiring managers don’t have time for 30-minute expletory conversations when applicants take 30 minutes to answer one or two questions. Two, you can’t differentiate what’s important and what’s not. Maybe you get lost in overwhelm on the job because you think tasks are as important as results?
4. Ten Year Time Limit: No matter how much experience you have, your resume should cover just the last decade. Again, if you want to provide more work history, you can keep a master resume that outlines all your experience, and you can submit that later if necessary. Anyone can fit ten years of experience on two pages. If you find yourself struggling to eliminate parts of your resume, it may help to focus on keeping your most recent work experience filled with the most detail and removing bullets from jobs you held further back in your career.
5. Hiring Manager Make Quick Decisions: The average resume gets about 6 seconds or less of evaluation. Consolidating your greatest achievements into two pages makes it easier for hiring managers to see your successes. If they have to search for your accomplishments, they may be skipped over given six seconds isn’t a lot of time to search through three pages of information. Sometimes applicants value their experience as being more important than a hiring manager might. Failing to understand what your audience is looking for in a resume is a primary reason why more applicants don’t get more interviews that ultimately lead to better jobs.
One if You Can, Never More Than Two
Resume length is critical and is one of the few cases where less is often more. If you have five to seven years of experience, you may be able to get away with one page. If you have ten years of experience or more, two pages are customary. You’ll need to work hard to consolidate many parts of your job duties and responsibilities and focus on outcomes, awards, and goal obtainment. If you’ve been using a three-page resume, consolidate to two pages and see if you don’t land more interviews.