How long should a resume be?
Short answer: one page.
But you’re probably here because you’ve heard that already. Instead, you might be wondering if a resume can be more than one page.
The answer? Yes, resume length can exceed one page. While most resumes should be one page long, the ideal resume length will depend on your situation and level of experience.
In some cases, a two page or even three page resume is perfectly acceptable.
Read on to find out how many pages your resume should be, and what resume length is right for you.
How Many Pages Should Your Resume Be?
Since the dawn of time, the one page resume length has been the agreed upon standard. So much so, that all common resume formats, and even resume writing guides, are all based on creating a one page resume.
Many experts even argue that a resume should never be longer than one page.
This is almost true.
Most job seekers should have a one page long resume for the following reasons:
Reason 1: The faster and more efficiently you communicate your qualifications to the hiring manager, the higher your chances of landing an interview.
Hiring managers have to sort through a ton of applications, and if your resume is over one page, you better be sure every part of it sells you as the perfect applicant. Otherwise, it’s highly unlikely the hiring manager will even finish reading it.
Reason 2: You should only be including your most relevant and recent work experience and skills.
For most job seekers this means you’ll almost never need more than one page. No one cares that you were a marketing intern 8 years ago if you’re applying for a marketing manager position – even if it may seem relevant.
That space would be better put to use expounding upon your current job responsibilities that prove you have what it takes to excel as a marketing manager.
Definitely use a one page resume if:
- You’re writing an entry-level resume
- You have less than 6 years of experience in your industry
- Your relevant experience spans 5 years or less
If you’re truly struggling to fit all your relevant qualifications on one page, then it’s possible you do need a two page resume.
This will usually only happen if you have over 10 years of experience in your field, or if you have a massive list of accomplishments that will all give you an edge over the competition.
In these cases, having a resume that’s two pages long is not only acceptable, but optimal. When both pages of your resume are filled with qualifications directly related to your target job, you have a much higher chance of getting hired compared to someone with only one page.
On the other hand. if your resume is just barely spilling onto two pages, you should make every effort to cut it down to one page.
Use a well-formatted resume template, adjust your resume margins, or try a different resume font to accomplish this easily.
Definitely use a two page resume if:
- Your relevant qualifications take up much more than one page
- You have a wealth of related degrees or certifications that need to be included
- You truly feel that the two page version of your resume makes for a stronger job application
Three page resume
A three page resume should only be used when it’s expected – meaning many applicants applying for that job are submitting one.
This is usually only the case for senior management or C-level and executive positions.
You’ll never get a job as the Chief Financial Officer of a company with a one page resume. It just won’t happen when you’re competing with candidates that have multiple pages of robust experience showcasing their management expertise and qualifications.
A three (or more) page resume is also often used when writing an academic resume or curriculum vitae. The long lists of research papers, publications, and other academic information on CVs make the extra page length a necessity.
If you don’t meet these requirements, and your resume is still three pages, then it’s highly likely that a lot of the content on your resume is unnecessary and needs to be removed.
Definitely use a three (or more) page resume if:
- You’re applying for an upper management position and your relevant experience doesn’t fit on two pages
- You’re writing an academic resume and already have a long list of publications
- You’re writing a resume for a government position (these have special requirements)
Conclusion: The Best Resume Length for You
For the majority of job seekers the ideal resume length is still one page. But just because it’s right for most people doesn’t mean it’s the best choice for you.
Depending on your situation, a two, or even three-page resume might be the best choice to help you land more interviews and get your dream job.
Just keep these three final tips in mind to make sure your resume isn’t longer than it needs to be:
- Only include work experience and qualifications that are related to your target job
- Only include your three most recent (and relevant) jobs
- Always proofread your resume and remove any information you don’t think improves your chances of landing an interview
Followed those tips and your resume is still longer than one page? Great! That’s how long your resume should be.
At the end of the day, most hiring mangers won’t throw out your resume just because it’s more than one page – but having a resume that’s longer than it needs to be will always hurt your chances.
Still worried about how long your resume should be? Use our resume builder and we’ll automatically adjust the length based on your qualifications!