Recruiter Roundtable: Resume Length

Recruiter Roundtable: Resume Length

By Yahoo! HotJobs

The Recruiter Roundtable is a monthly feature that collects career and job-seeking advice from a group of recruiting experts throughout the US. The question we put before our panel this month is:

For resumes, does size matter? How long is too long?

Content is Key

It's content, not size, that matters. More specifically, it's the quality of the content in a resume -- the information that immediately tells me why you're the right person for the job -- that matters. 

If you're wondering what to leave in and what to take out, a simple rule of thumb is to  include information that is relevant to your career -- membership/leadership roles in industry associations, education, speaking engagements or published articles -- and to take out any personal information -- age, marital status, number of children, health or political/religious affiliations. Whether your resume is one or two pages, make every word count.

-- Cheryl Ferguson, recruiter, The Recruiter's Studio

Less is Still More

I think it's always good to remember that a resume is not unlike a business card; it gives the recruiter and hiring manager information about you, but is by no means you. I give points for being succinct and for originality. After reflecting on some of the best resumes I've seen, I would recommend keeping to 700 to 1,000 words. I also recommend keeping it to one page unless you are at the VP-or-above level. And in that case, less is still more. If you are at the exec level, only brief information is needed about your first few jobs.

-- Ross Pasquale, owner, Monday Ventures

Pages Mean Less Online

Electronic communication has changed the old adage of "no more than one page." As a recruiter, I don't even notice scrolling through a couple of pages. The more important factor to me is that the format is easy to read (i.e,. clean, simple sentences, flows nicely, etc.), identifies what the candidate has done and where they did it, and relates to the position at hand. In the presentation of your information, make it easy for the audience to see how your background correlates to the position you are applying for.

-- Sionnon Gruenberg,
executive staffing consultant - Wells Fargo Technology Information Group

Summarize with Accuracy

I have seen resumes that have literally been 10 pages long. Recruiters and hiring managers simply do not have time to read resumes that long, regardless of experience. The best resumes I have seen are two to three pages long highlighting skills and accomplishments. Don't get too wordy -- we don't want to read a novel, just a summary. And be accurate. If it is on your resume, recruiters and managers will ask you about it.

-- Bob Hancock, senior corporate recruiter, Electronic Arts

What Resume?

More and more companies allow applying without a resume. Sometimes they even prefer this, as it may be a sign that you are a passive job seeker.  I have seen in many companies that they do the screening without using a resume; they only require a resume in case of an interview. So the general advice I would give is to make sure that whatever is required in the online application is filled out.  And of course do have a resume with all the necessary keywords if you are an active seeker.

-- Yves Lermusi, CEO of Checkster