Resume Etiquette: Is Your Resume Too Long?


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If you’ve just sat down to write or edit your resume, you’ve probably wondering, what is the right length of a resume? Is it proper resume etiquette to only be one page? Is it ever OK for a resume to run onto a second page? 

The answer to all of the questions above is, it depends. 

According to career experts at the University of Colorado, Bolder, job applicants should think of their resume as marketing material – “where brevity and relevance of information are of utmost importance.” Meaning, the goal isn’t to put everything you can on your resume, but rather, align it with the job you are applying for. 

In general, a good resume is brief, running between one and two pages long. However, overall length largely depends on your work experience. 

Junior-level professionals

As a general rule for proper resume etiquette is that junior-level professionals should be able to fit all relevant work experience on one page. One reason for this is that applicants with less than five years of experience should skip the professional summary. Instead, focus on highlighting key accomplishments within each job summary. If you feel like your resume is too short, consider choosing a different page format. Filling the page with irrelevant details won’t help you get the job.

Mid-career professionals

Unlike junior-level professionals, those who are mid-career, with 10-15 years of experience,  may find it necessary to go over one page. This is in order to properly demonstrate all relevant accomplishments. Generally, this group should focus on including a compressive description of their most recent, or current, position. While it’s OK to go over one page, even mid-career professionals should take the time to ensure everything on their resume highlights experiences that are relevant to the job they are pursuing. 

Remember proper resume etiquette means you should be ensuring your resume only includes the most relevant information from your job history.

Reviewing your resume

No matter where you are in your career, your goal should be to align your resume as closely as possible to the job you are applying for. If you’re still not sure if your resume is too long, ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Is your formatting consistent? A good resume is easy to scan. Pick a format, an easy-to-read font and stick with it. 
  2. Have you combed through your resume to delete irrelevant accomplishments and repetitive information? Remove repetitive tasks that aren’t quantifiable or are unrelated to the job you are applying for. 
  3. Have you included unrelated positions? Don’t waste space by listing an irrelevant internship from 10 years ago. 
  4. Is your resume wordy? Edit down your sentences, remove vague or generalized language, and only use bullet points to call out key information. Remember, your resume is also a demonstration of your writing skills.
  5. Are you using white space to your advantage? If you’re messing with the margins and font size to get everything to fit on one page, you’ll quickly confuse and lose your audience. Your resume should be clean, clear and easy to skim.
  6. Have you removed your references? If your employer wants a list of references, they’ll ask for it. Have a list ready to go, but don’t tack it, or the phrase, “Reference available upon request”, on the end of your resume. 

At the end of the day, it’s OK if your resume is longer than one page. Just be sure it clearly tells the reader who you are while highlighting the experiences, qualifications and accomplishments you bring to the table in the most concise way possible. 

To learn more about resume etiquette and landing your dream job, check out LeadUp Career’s 5-step approach today.