“How long should a resume be?” is becoming a more complex question that it once was. Read on for our advice on how to tackle it!

By: Daniel Lorenzo, Blog Manager for Let’s Eat, Grandma


You’ve probably heard that your resume should never ever, ever, EVER be longer than one (1) U.S. Standard 8.5 x 11” page.

But it’s 2019 – nothing’s that simple anymore! If this was still a hard and fast rule, this blog could have been written by your high school guidance counselor.

Times have changed just a bit, and the one-pager rule has recently become a hotly debated topic.  

Answers to “How long should a resume be?” are becoming less like “Always wear your seatbelt,” and more like, say “Wait an hour after eating before getting in the pool.”

In light of this, here’s a new rule on resume length for you to consider…

THE QUESTION: “How long should a resume be?”

THE ANSWER:

“As long as it needs to be, but short enough to remain interesting.”

Reportedly introduced by Winston Churchill, this principle has become known as the “miniskirt rule.” It’s been applied to speeches, presentations, and various forms of writing, so you can be confident it applies to your resume, too.

You see, your resume definitely needs to be kept short and skimmable, but it should also cover everything that you need to cover to get an interview.

Rather than a hard-and-fast page limit, this rule will help guide you in achieving that perfect balance between concise and thorough.

If you have a really compelling reason why it should be more than one page and you can keep it interesting, then you might be able to pull it off (though we almost never recommend going over two pages).

Let’s break down a few reasons why you’d want to go long, and why you might want to keep your resume at one page:

WHEN YOU CAN EXCEED 1 PAGE

You have a LOT of experience

If you’re 10 or more years into your career and have had a consistent string of jobs that are all applicable, it might be worth exceeding a page to detail them all.

With this much experience, you do want to make sure you’re presenting the full breadth of your expertise to the hiring manager (assuming you’re not also including your barista expertise…).

Particular career fields

There are (at least) 2 fields that actually encourage longer resumes:

-Academia

If you’re applying for positions in higher education, you’ll probably be asked for a CV instead of a resume, and CV’s can run as looooong as you need them to.

-Federal Jobs

The federal government has a different hiring process than the private sector, which comes with its own rules. Typically, they’re more in-depth and are expected to run long.

WHEN YOU SHOULDN’T EXCEED 1 PAGE

If you’re applying for Entry-Level/Associate positions

If you’re only a few years out of college, it’s very unlikely that you have enough experience to justify a second page.

If you want an excuse to elaborate

Don’t exceed a page just by overly elaborating on a few jobs. Sure, you might have accomplished a TON at your most recent internship, but you can go into more details about that in the interview instead of adding 3 more bullet points.

If it’s only a few lines over

Unless you can fill up more than 1/3 of a second page, just tighten that sucker up. Shorten your sentences. Choose smaller fonts. Try a different layout, even. A second page should never just contain spillover information.

IT’S ALL UP TO YOU

Resume writing is more of an art than a science. Your resume is about you and only you, so your situation will always determine your answers for questions like “How long should a resume be?”

So when determining the length of your resume, consider your situation while continuously reminding yourself that it should be “as long as it needs to be, but short enough to remain interesting.”

And if you need a second opinion, remember that Let’s Eat, Grandma’s resume experts have your back. Sign up for a free phone consultation with one on our homepage.

You can also hear this topic (and many more) covered on our Career Warrior Podcast:

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