Richard Bucker

How long should your resume be?

Posted at — Apr 9, 2012

I have two resumes. The one that I use most often is a one-pager; and then there is the “complete” resume of almost everything I have accomplished in 25+ years.I use the one-pager for several reasons; and I know this because I have been a hiring manager. (a) Many times I’m printing more than one resume on a shared printer. More times than not the printer spills the resumes on the flow and in most cases the multi-page resumes are no fun to reassemble without page numbers and names on every page. (b) Once the pages have been printed, try to find a stapler, and the staples, and then dig through the pile of resumes for all the multi-pagers again. (c) and if you’ve ever read 100+ really long blog posts in a quick succession you know that after the first few you start to speed read trying to filter to the best few that are going to provide the best information.This applies whether it’s an entry level position or a senior position.So what is the ideal length of a resume? It’s the one that get’s you hired. But if you can get into an interview then you’re almost there. You should feel free to get some feedback on your resume from the interviewer. What they liked and did not like? What caught their attention? Once you have enough feedback then you can tweak it for content, length and format.The trick about executive positions. It’s no trick really… while I have never interviewed executive candidates I have been on the other side. I have also received some solid advice from accomplished executives and it has been fairly consistent. One executive I know was hired by a company. “I sat around; went to meetings; observed the company from the inside out. Then at about the 6 month mark the CEO told him to define his job." Another executive articulated that at executive levels you are hired for your knowledge and skills and not what you think the outline of the job is.What does this have to do with resume length? Well, if I were hiring an executive the list of candidates would probably be short from the beginning. They probably came from recommendations or personal relationships… or possibly vetted by executive headhunters. But at this point I would expect to see something like the “our executive” page on any corporate website with a nice picture too. Of course you’ll need your employment history with your success somewhere for reference.Good luck to us all.