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The humble resume has been around since 1482 and was invented by none other than Leonardo Da Vinci himself as a means of introduction. And for over 500 years, job and opportunity seekers have been asking just how long should a resume be? The short answer: it depends on the role you’re going after.
Resume Length – Say More with Less
Great resumes have a few things in common:
- Look good – uncluttered with breathing room
- Are well written – error free and easy to understand
- Close the deal – they get you the interview or the job
A resume that meets all of these points can do so in a single page. For talent with more than 10+ years of applicable experience, it’s acceptable to have two full pages – but no more. Your resume should “entice” the reader to want to know more about you, not put them to sleep.
Even though many companies use an applicant tracking system (ATS) to filter resume submissions initially, a human being still has to sort through those that made the first cut in order to decide who they would like to know more about. That means that someone will be looking over your resume and in some cases, having more than a page can result in the resume never being reviewed. This especially holds true if the position that they are trying to fill doesn’t require more than 10 years of experience.
Employment History & Experience – Saving Space
No matter how many years of experience you have, your resume should make the connection from your previous experience to the role you’re applying for. Each resume you submit should be tailored to the specific job for which you are applying. Having a “one size fits all” approach to a resume can cost you. Employers will not waste time trying to figure out if a candidate can fill their needs.
Candidates should look at employment history and experience and filter it this way: if it isn’t relevant to the type of work you’re doing today or want to be doing in your next role, you can leave it off of your resume. To avoid any gaps, provide the title you held, dates you were employed and the name of the previous employer. Instead, focus on sharing information (training, projects, etc) that will help to sell you to the employer.
Building a Better Resume
Here’s a good flow for a resume that uses a combination/functional style. We’ve included notes that will explain why this resume format works for someone with any amount of experience.
(top of page include name, email, phone & professional URLS LinkedIn, About.Me page & title of role)
(optional – appears below the contact info block – summary statements are a good way to provide the employer with information on who you are and what you bring to the table. Think of it as your “elevator pitch” to sell you and entice the reader. This is a great way to take highlights of you experience and tie it directly into the role they’re hiring for. Make sure to use some of the same keywords – the ATS will be seeking those out!)
(optional – appears in bulleted format below summary a great way to list out the hard and soft skills you possess and tie them into what the employer is looking for in the particular role. For example if they are after a project manager with Basecamp skills, here is where you would list Basecamp. Again, review the job posting for target keywords that will likely be used in the screening process.)
(below your skills block, list out applicable professional, internship, project, or volunteer experience that you have, while making the connection to what appears in the job posting. Include your title, name of employer and the dates you were employed there, along with 2-3 bullets for each position that provides detail of what you did along with the result it produced. Example: “Drove new business development; collaborated with IT to implement company’s 1st ever CRM tool (Salesforce) and achieved 107% of sales goal in 2015”)
(after your final entry in your experience section, list your education and certification you’ve received.)