How long should my resume be?

Get guidance on when you should send a one-, two- or three-page resume.

How long should my resume be?

Get your resume noticed with these writing tips.

"How long should my resume be?" is one of the most commonly asked questions about resumes. Not too long ago, job seekers were told that a resume should never exceed one page. Those who broke this golden rule were destined for the circular file.

Times have changed, and so has the criteria for resume length. The new guideline is: A resume should be long enough to entice hiring managers to call you for job interviews. That may sound vague, but there is no hard-and-fast resume length rule that works for everyone. Factors to consider include career summary, occupation, industry, years of experience, number of employers, scope of accomplishments, and education/training.

Keep these facts in mind when deciding on resume length:

  • Your resume is a career marketing tool, not an autobiography. Strive to keep your resume concise and focused on your key selling points. Let go of past experiences that don't market you for your current goal. Every word in the resume should sell your credentials and value to a potential employer. You should also leave something to talk about in the interview. 
  • It's common for employers or recruiters to sort through hundreds, or even thousands, of resumes to fill one position. Hiring managers often give resumes just a cursory, six-second glance before deciding if the applicant deserves to be added to the "maybe" pile. While your resume will probably get a more thorough read if you are called for a job interview, ensure that your strongest selling points are immediately visible to make the first cut.

Use a one-page resume if:

  • You have fewer than 10 years of experience.
  • You're pursuing a radical career change, and your experience isn't relevant to your new goal.
  • You've held one or two positions with one employer.

Use a two-page resume if:

Put the most important information at the top of the first page. Lead your resume with a career summary, so your key credentials appear at the forefront of the resume. On the second page, include a page number, your name, and contact information.

Consider a three-page resume or longer if:

Multiple-page resumes can use addendum pages after page two. Job seekers can decide whether to send the full document or just the first two pages to a potential employer, based on the job opportunity requirements.

Get some reassurance

Knowing how your resume should look isn't always clear. The skills you should highlight—and how many of them to focus on—depends on the jobs you're applying to, the companies, and other variables. Not sure your resume is properly set up? Get a free resume evaluation today from the experts at Monster's Resume Writing Service. You'll get detailed feedback in two business days, including a review of your resume's appearance and content, and a prediction of a recruiter's first impression. Resume trends tend to change so it's best to make sure yours is doing all it can to get a hiring manager's attention.