Unlike what your college adviser or career counselor may have told you, there are very few hard and fast rules regarding how many pages your resume should be. There are guidelines, but these can be broken at the drop of a hat if the end result, your resume, would be bettered by dropping them. Especially in times of high unemployment, professional resume writing is an art that demands a near-psychic connection with whoever is going to be reading your resume. What do they want to see, what will impress them, what will make your resume stand out amidst a sea of hundreds? Sometimes, all it takes is a great deal of experience writing successful resumes. Professional resume services providers have this experience.
Here are some examples of why resume length is a lot more complicated than it seems:
The One-Page Rule for Entry-Level Positions and Job Fairs
College graduates are often required by their advisers or counselors to keep their resume length to a single page minimum. However, if there are hundreds of single-page applicants for a single job, it's the resume that consists of two pages that may end up standing out, especially if the job asks for a go-getter type with many leadership qualities. This can end up backfiring, as intangible qualities like "leadership" and "charisma" are very difficult to get across on the resume page. The applicant has to show these qualities through listing extracurricular or community service activities.
Furthermore, job fairs often ask for only one-page resumes, because of the high volume of applicants. However, by presenting a well-crafted, relevant two-page resume, you can stand head and shoulders above the rest of the crowd. Their single-page resumes may seem overly crammed or simplistic in comparison.
Resume writing is about finding the connection between applicants and jobs. If the job doesn't require it or if the applicant can't pull it off, a two-page entry-level resume will hurt an applicant's chances. But if the connection is solid, it can win a resume a second look. Only an executive resume writer can establish whether or not this connection exists.
The Two-Page Rule for All Other Positions
Even today, most technical professionals or even executives are urged to keep their resumes under two pages. Nobody wants to read beyond that, people say. Hard-and-fast rules like this, however, often force highly qualified candidates to cram relevant information into every inch of space on the page, which can be harder to read than if the candidate just expanded the resume onto the third page. Generally the rule is that the more responsibility a position entails, the longer the resume should be. You can't have irrelevant fluff, but you also have to show your intangible qualities, especially if you're applying for an executive position. Every executive resume writer knows that if a high-level candidate's resume is too short, a hiring company will wonder, "What are they trying to hide?"
Sometimes a technical positions may only require a one-page resume. This is the case if a company is looking for you to demonstrate knowledge, and if a position doesn't ask for many intangible qualities. How do you know if your position is one of these? Well, oftentimes you don't - that's why you seek out a professional resume services provider for advice and/or resume writing so you can be sure that your resume is the best fit for your desired job.
The answer to the question, "How long should my resume be?" can be maddeningly vague. There is no right answer. Some resumes are one page, some require two pages, and some go onto three pages or more. The main resume criteria that convinces hiring companies to give you a second thought isn't how long the resume is, but how well-crafted, how relevant, and how good a fit the resume seems to be. Resume writing isn't about following rules to the T, it's about making the best connection possible between you and your chosen job.