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How Long Is Too Long For A Resume?

Have you ever wondered, how long is too long for a resume?

You’re not the only one. There’s always been some confusion around this topic. Today, career experts J.T. O’Donnell and Dale Dauten clear things up.

Dear J.T. and Dale,

How long is too long for a resume? I remember being told that my resume should be one page. Recently, my employer was hiring and we were getting 2-3 page resumes. One person even had a section with her personal information: kids, hobbies. What are the rules?

– Shilo

According to O’Donnell, the meat of the issue is that there are no rules when it comes to resumes, which is why everyone is confused and on different pages when it comes to content, length, formatting, and so on. She recommended that your resume be no longer than 1-2 pages.

Studies show that recruiters spend about six seconds scanning a resume, so you want to make sure you’re making it easy for them to find the right information as quickly as possible.

So, there are two things you should do when writing a resume. First, simplify the text. Don’t try to fit in too much, and don’t worry about including irrelevant experience. In the end, that’s not what recruiters are looking for when they read your resume. They’re looking for specific information about you that proves you can do the job they’re looking to fill.

“Stick to the facts,” said O’Donnell. “Get rid of all of that flowery language.”

Second, make sure the font is at least 11 point. If you make it too small in an effort to fit as much as you can on a page, it’s going to be hard to read and difficult for the recruiter to find what he or she is looking for within that six second period.

“Do your best to simplify and think about that reader,” O’Donnell said. “Less is more.”

However, Dauten suggested that there’s no harm in having a longer resume (2-3 pages).

Dauten argued that including hobbies on your resume, which can make it longer than it needs to be, might actually help to strike up conversation and connection during an interview.

“I don’t see that it hurts anything [to have a longer resume],” said Dauten. “And maybe you have a chance to make that personal connection.”

Unfortunately, there’s no solid answer to “How long is too long for a resume?” However, in the end, it’s all about the content and how you present it to the recruiter or employer. Are you making it easy for the reader to find what he or she is looking for?

But even in these cases, you want to make your resume as concise as you can.

“The reality is that recruiters see dozens, if not hundreds, of resumes at a time so they will review any one of them in seconds,” says New York career coach Caroline Ceniza-Levine. “The longer it is, the less time there is to see anything.”

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