Over the years, there has been a lot of advice centered on the perfect length for a resume. Some experts have claimed that one page is the best. Keep it brief and to the point, they say. Others advise that two, three or even four pages is acceptable, depending upon the circumstances.
As a resume writing expert and a hiring manager, I don’t believe there is one perfect resume length for all candidates. I like to take the common sense approach in this. And that is, a resume is as long as it needs to be PROVIDED the data it contains is germane to the current job search and nothing extraneous is included.
There is NO Perfect Resume Length
That means that your resume may be two pages, while your colleague’s may be one. It all depends upon your background.
In addition to page length being debated, how far a candidate should go back is also argued about from time to time. In my view, anyone in IT shouldn’t go back farther than 10 years. The industry is changing so quickly, the technology is outdated quickly. Therefore, listing what you used 20 years ago isn’t going to impress anyone as that technology isn’t popular any longer. For those outside the technology fields, it’s best not to go back farther than 15 years. To do so might invite age discrimination. What’s more, a hiring manager is most interested in what you’ve done recently, not way back when.
The only time you would go back to the beginning would be if you’re reentering an industry you left in the early years. For example: You began in finance, then moved on to information technology, and now you’re returning to finance. The early experience must be on the resume. It’s all that you have in terms of expertise in the field.
Determining the Correct Resume Length
Whenever you’re at a crossroads as to how long your resume should be or what it should contain, just use common sense. Is the data you’re providing:
1. Proving you’re the best candidate for the position?
2. Showcasing skills, knowledge, abilities that meet the job requirements?
3. Painting a positive picture of your candidacy?
If the answer isn’t ‘yes’ to each of the above, then the data has no business being in your resume. Once you’ve included only that information which belongs there, that’s the length of your resume.
It’s as simple as that.