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  • Lori A. Jazvac

Addressing Resume Length: Think Strategy & Quality

Many jobseekers believe that one-page resumes get read quicker since the employer or recruiter tends to glimpse at the resume in 6 short seconds. In fact, this question concerning "resume rules" has caused some debate among jobseekers and continues to fuel the conversations among career professionals and recruiters alike.

The one-page resume myth persists, despite significant evidence that most hiring managers accept a two-page or even longer resume, if appropriate for the candidate’s qualifications.

Strategy is Key: Exceptions to the Rule

Most of the resumes that I create are two pages. Some resumes are three pages for candidates with extensive experience and accomplishments. It all depends on strategy and the techniques used to draw out the candidate's offerings and unique brand.

And sometimes resume rules can be stretched...

Just recently, I crafted a stand-out resume for a healthcare professional with a wealth of diversified expertise and skills. The resume was actually 3+ pages -- a significant improvement from his lengthy original resume of 7+ pages -- tailored to the position applied for while nicely capturing the client’s value. The client was pleased with the newly branded marketing document and felt empowered to embrace the next career milestone.

Use Common Sense and Remember Content Quality vs. Quantity

The key is to not compromise quality and results -- what employers look for. Use common sense and evaluate quality when determining resume length.

In resume building, "less is often more" -- keeping content relevant, yet concise with crisp wording is essential to creating a stellar resume package.

-- By squeezing years of valuable experience and a rich toolkit of core competencies onto one page, you may risk impacting your candidacy for a higher level role -- while losing relevant keywords and unique value.

-- Include a balance of quantitative metrics and qualitative achievements to demonstrate your value and capabilities -- what sets you apart.

-- Focus on emphasizing achievements and results rather than responsibilities.

-- Keeping writing focused and concise will resolve the resume length issue.

Here are 8 helpful tips to determine resume length:

--> Use your discretion concerning resume length based on the strategy used to highlight your particular experience and offerings.

--> Opt for a one-page resume if a recruiter or hiring manager specifically requests this. Note that recruiters only place about 25% of candidates in new jobs, and not all recruiters subscribe to the one-page “limit”.

--> Plain-text resumes are usually longer, even if the original resume is one page. The one-page format is unique to the printed page, because resumes submitted online aren’t affected by page limits. Approximately 30% of resumes are only stored electronically (they're not usually printed out).

--> College or university students with limited work experience and those with five years or less experience in most cases may be able to fit their resumes onto one page, but this varies. The candidate’s background, skills, experience, achievements, and the role targeted must be considered.

--> Networking resumes and professional biographies work well as one-page brand marketing documents offering a succinct snapshot of your value and expertise. They can also be displayed on LinkedIn, websites, or distributed at networking events to your trusted contacts.

--> If an employer specifically requests a one-page resume, then create a compelling one-page resume that makes you stand out with a career professional’s support. A career professional/resume writer will know how to best present your value and position you for your next role. Most often, employers are used to seeing two pages.

--> A resume that is two or even three pages is common for senior-level executives with extensive experience, career changers, or those with a CV outlining a wide range of professional experience and high-level credentials.

--> Make sure the content that you include on the resume — regardless of length — is relevant to your job target and addresses what the hiring manager will want to know about you!

When it comes to length, remember quality over quantity. A robust strategy will guide other elements such as resume format, layout, and length. The strategy for every candidate will be uniquely customized depending on their value and expertise.

Which one do you think would be more appealing to the prospective employer?

An exceptionally crafted resume that is two pages, nicely organized and presented with thoughtful accomplishments, and answers the employer's three key questions:

--> What makes you stand apart?

--> Why should I hire you and how do you meet my buying motivators? --> What can you bring to my company and its team to drive it forward?

...OR a one-page resume that is condensed, hard to read, and fails to communicate your authentic value.

For a stellar and strategically designed resume package this hiring season, contact Lori Jazvac, Certified Resume Strategist/Career Consultant at Creative Horizons Communications or visit

Providing strategic solutions to enhance your career success!

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