Tips on Managing Your Resume Length

Though the question of “How many pages should a professional resume be?” has long been debated among many, relevance and substance are key in determining the length of resumes for professionals.  Additionally, your years of experience, key achievements, the number of employers, audience, industry, and career goals should be factored into the decision to aid in determining what is relevant.

Tip #1:  Helping You Decide…..

If you are a recent college graduate, changing careers, have under 10 years of work experience, or have held one or more roles with the same employer, a one-page resume is generally sufficient to showcase your skills, qualifications, and achievements.

However, bear in mind that you do not want to miss out on an opportunity by omitting important, relevant details for the sake of keeping the resume limited to a certain number of pages.

To help streamline your resume, let’s say you are a Project Manager with an extensive project portfolio or a Traveling Nurse with a career filled with numerous assignments, try adding an addendum to your resume that allows you to include more career highlights. In the case of a Project Management Consultant with 10+ years of experience, you may need more than two pages—or possibly two pages combined with the project addendum.  There is no blanket rule that works for everyone. The idea here is to allow relevance and substance to primarily drive your decision.

Tip #2:  What to Cut and What to Include

Recruiters are looking for position fit, relevance, and brevity; your professional resume is a marketing tool, not a biography.  Carefully consider your quantifiable scope of achievements, interpersonal skills, abilities, endorsements, awards, certifications, and education to use your resume real estate space wisely. When possible, highlight instances where you saved money, improved processes or led a team to achieve a key milestone within your opening statements and within different positions to show how your competencies align with your target companies and roles. 

Tip #3: Use LinkedIn as Extra Real Estate

Regardless of your career stage, LinkedIn can be a great place to showcase internships, projects, recommendations from colleagues or clients, community involvement, hobbies, interests, coursework, and publications while also including an extended skills profile.

Web portfolios or personal websites are also additional avenues to further communicate your brand, personality, causes you are passionate about, and interests.

Tip #4:  Focus on Relevancy

Keeping in mind the 10-second human scan, tailor your professionally written resume for each position and utilize a compelling qualifications summary or headline stated in roughly 3-4 sentences to help strengthen your connection with the human reviewer.  Considering the resume is a marketing tool, information should be presented in a focused, clear, attention-grabbing, and easy-to-read layout.  I often recommend keeping a master version of your resume that houses many of your career milestones, jobs, education/training, and accomplishments. Update the master resume as your leadership career advances; you change jobs, get promoted, or expand the scope of your responsibilities, etc.   Then as you apply for jobs, this will allow you to plug and play relevant information as needed for a targeted position. Avoid being too wordy on the resume, as some of the job details can be discussed during an interview.

Build out your professional experience section with possibly 3-5 succinctly written, keyword-rich bullets per job to showcase your accomplishments as opposed to articulating duties and responsibilities.  Note: In some cases it may be necessary to extend the bullets beyond 3-5, depending on the amount of relevant information.

Try describing job details in two-line bullets for each position.  This helps to keep your writing concise and offers great skimmability for the human reviewer.  Utilize white space appropriately; therefore the final page of your resume should extend to at least half of the page.  If not, remember relevancy is important, so try scaling back on information that can be showcased on another personal branding platform. 

With many companies using a keyword search engine, balance your soft skills with industry specific keywords that align your relevant abilities to the position requirements.   The key takeaway here is to avoid a general resume that details every skill, responsibility, and training course, etc. in hopes of being found in the applicant tracking system. Increasing your marketability includes writing a high-impact professional resume deeply rooted in compelling content that succinctly conveys your qualifications.

If you need help with writing an executive resume, professional resume, or LinkedIn profile we can help. Contact us at or toll-free 1-888-607-7793.