RESUMES: Does Size Matter?

RESUMES: Does size matter?


0172_resume_greenRecently I worked on a resume for a woman who is graduating with an MA from a well-known school. When I sent her the first draft,after having interviewed her for an hour, she immediately said, “This is two pages. I always have been told to limit my resume to a single page.”

I winced. How could someone with this much education and work experience believe such an old, incorrect assumption? I guess I underestimated the power of all those hoary maxims floating around out there about one-page resumes: “No longer than one page, nothing over a page, keep it to a page.”

The reason I feel strongly about this is based on the regular success my clients have had with resumes up to three pages long. A recent one, for example, two and a half pages long, just receive two positive responses, which have turned into two interviews, and the individual for whom I wrote that resume is now on his second round of interviews.

So a one-page resume is definitely NOT a requirement. As I’m fond of saying, “Content rules. If you have a powerhouse of a resume, it’s OK to go up to three pages.”

Those two words “content rules” are the key. Most resumes don’t make every word count. They stuff the work experience into a short space, in an almost drab way. They make for the kind of reading that puts the initial reader to sleep. It’s often called “being objective.”

Well, your resume is the first and foremost indicator of who you are and what you’ve done. If it isn’t a powerhouse, a “Killer” Resume, then it won’t do the job it’s intended to do. That job is to get you the interview.

Unless it gets you the interview, it’s a poor resume. That’s the long and the short of it.


If you’re interested in more information about this subject, from a job coach with more than fifteen years’ experience helping people find, and get, jobs.  Learn more here.

  1 comment for “RESUMES: Does Size Matter?

  1. April 18, 2013 at 9:07 am

    There are pros and cons – When I help people write resumes, I tell them, you only have someone’s attention for so long, what do you want them to know about you that makes you stand out? So there is no “format” that is best for resumes, there is a format best for YOUR resume.

    I started my career in website development where (I’m showing my age here) there used to be a term called “the fold” in user experience: that was, what information immediately appears on your homepage that everyone sees, and what secondary information are you making them scroll down to read or click on another page. 100% will see the small amount, 11% will scroll down and 4% will click on a second page (I’m sure those numbers have changed but it still is indicative of human attention spans). So whether or not to have a 3 page is dependent upon a few factors: How many candidates are you up against? if it’s ten, you can assume they’ll probably read yours, if it’s 20+, I’d keep it short and concise: You can always send more detail to someone interested but you can’t shorten a resume that’s already been skimmed and discarded.

    I tend to think the best of both worlds is a really clear, marketing oriented flyer of your skills that doesn’t have so much clutter about your experience details that they miss that you’re president of the local chapter of executives in your field, or that you were summa cum laude at Harvard.

    Not everyone is going to read 3 pages. Pop the big stuff, add enough detail to get a foot in the door and put a link for them to read more about you after you have gotten their attention. I can’t think of any industry that should not have an account there by now. My high school junior daughter has one to collect awards to send information to college recruiters, and I’m helping my nephew build one, he’s a 7th grader.

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