How long should your resume be in 2021

August 3, 2021

🕐 8 min read

Your resume is one of the most powerful factors in determining the future of your career. You need to convince the hiring manager that you are the best person for the job within a few pages of your resume. But there has been some discussion about how many pages you should use in a resume to impress a hiring manager. Therefore eventually job seekers have a problem with how long a resume should be.

The length of your resume is just a number of pages and it depends on several factors. Accordingly, the length of the resume will vary depending on the job applied for by the individual, the level of experience, the educational qualifications, and the number of relevant skills they have.

Many people expect a quick, straightforward answer to this problem. So if anyone asks what’s the standard resume length for the current job market, the simplest answer would be, “a resume should be limited to one page in length.”

But there may be some special occasions when your resume can be as long as two or three pages. But your resume shouldn’t be longer than three pages for any reason.
In this article we will discuss how long your resume should be according to your level of experience, tips to help shorten your resume if it is longer and some other important information regarding the length of the resume. But if you know nothing about resume writing, we recommend that you read our complete resume writing guide first.

optimum resume length

When to use a one-page resume?

Below are a few instances where you can limit the resume to a single page. If you are in one of these situations, you should limit your resume to one page.

    You’re writing your first ever resume

    If you are a recent graduate

    When you haven’t much experience

    If the specific job or industry recommends a single-page resume

    If you’re switching careers

    You have less than 10 years of experience

    You are applying for an internship

    If you need to highlight your skills, not the experience

Why is a one-page resume best for you?

Did you know that a hiring manager usually takes as little as 6 seconds to skim read a resume? If they don’t get impressed with you in that short period of time, you may lose the interview opportunity. But a one-page resume is more than enough to freeze your best set of qualifications into a single page, to market you as the best applicant for a particular job.

A one-page resume is best suited for you if you want to summarize yourself and get the hiring manager to understand you quickly. If you can write your resume concisely and to the point, actually there is no point at all to go for a second page.

When to use a two-page resume?

Most of the time, if you have worked for many years or several companies and have a significant level of work experience, you must extend your resume to two pages. Below are some of the situations you need to consider to write a two-page resume.

    If you’re an experienced candidate

    Your resume is at least one and half page long after adding all the skills, experience, and qualifications

    You have robust technical skills and knowledge

    If you are applying for mid-level position

    If employers require certain other resume sections

Why is a two-page resume a good choice?

If you freeze all your career information into one page that will make the recruiter confused when reading your resume. So it’s always a good choice to move for a second page if you have an extensive career history such as more than 10 years of experience.
Even if you are a highly skilled or experienced candidate, two pages are enough to include your resume summary, work experience, educational qualifications, skills and other required information.

When should your resume be 3 / three+ pages?

Can your resume be longer than  3-pages? Definitely not. We recommend that you don’t extend your resume by more than three pages for any reason. But there are times when you may have to write a comprehensive three-page resume for a few essential occasions. The following are some examples. Except in the below two cases, we don’t recommend you to write a 3 page resume.

    You’re applying for a C-Suite job

    If you are applying for specific industries like academia

    You are writing a resume for a Federal job

Why should you write a 3-page resume?

If you are applying for a top executive job like CEO, CIO, CMO, or CFO, you must be a highly experienced and qualified person. So it can often be difficult for you to pack information about your career into a single page or two. So it is better to extend the resume upto 3 pages to increase the legibility of your comprehensive resume and to make it neat.

Also, if you are applying for jobs in specific fields such as academia, you can often ask those educational institutions for details about your educational background, published work, studies, and even information about your projects. In such cases you need to allocate a lot of space in your resume to include that information.

When creating a federal resume, there is a separate format for it, so here also you can extend your resume up to 3 pages to best describe yourself as the perfect candidate for the job.

Is your resume too long?

The shorter a resume, it is easier for a recruiter to scan it, and it is no secret that a well-optimized resume, even if it is a single page, gives you more chances to get an interview.

If your resume is longer, are you aware of reducing it to the right length? If not, the following tips will help you reduce your resume to the right length or to a single page.

01. Emphasize your most relevant experience

Employers always strive to recruit people with related skills and experience for vacant positions in their organization. Therefore, if you highlight only the relevant experience and leave out the irrelevant work experience, you will be more likely to get an interview opportunity or even job opportunities.

Adding only related experiences and omitting irrelevant job experiences sometimes may indicate work gaps in your resume. It’s not really a big deal. But if you think it will be a problem for you or your prospective employer, you can eloquently explain away your work gaps via a cover letter. Read our cover letter writing guide to learn how to write a cover letter correctly.

02. Focus on your most recent work experience

Entering information about each of your jobs in a resume extends it unnecessarily. So only include your recent 10-15 years of experience. Anyway, recruiters don’t care about your older experiences. They want to know what achievements you have made in the job in the recent past.

If you worked in a company 15 years ago with technologies that are not currently in use, you may have skills in them, but those skills are not valid for you to get a job in the current job market. So that’s why you need to update your resume regularly with your most recent experience.

However, if you have an educational qualification in the relevant field, it doesn’t matter when you obtained it. Insert it into the resume. Because the value of your educational qualifications never goes down.

03. Use ample spacing, margins, right fonts and font sizes

Don’t use large blocks of paragraphs when describing your job. Instead, you can list achievements using bullet points. Also try to maintain a positive white space between the bullet points. By keeping that spacing between 0.5-1 points, you can get a resume with a much cleaner look. But never reduce the line spacing to less than 0.5, thinking that the resume can be shortened. If you do like that, your resume will be an utter failure.

Also, another factor that affects your resume length is the font of your resume. Always keep the size of the resume font between 10-12 points. If you use a larger font size, your single page resume may be longer than two pages.

04. Remove filler words

Filler words such as “a”, “an”, “the” may look like small words to us. But removing them all will save a lot of space in your resume which can be used to insert some other valuable information or even it will help you to shorten the resume.

05. Merge multiple bullet points into one

If you are writing two similar achievements, merge them together as a single bullet point. This will prevent you from wasting space on your resume unnecessarily.

06. Try to list fewer and shorter job descriptions

Also, some people are accustomed to listing longer achievement bullet points and listing a large number of job description bullet points under one job. You really shouldn’t do that. It is sufficient to have between 4-5 achievement bullet points under one job. Using shorter sentences for this also makes it easier for the hiring manager to skim your resume.

07. Omit references

Many job seekers think that references should definitely be added to their resume. However, the references section is just an optional resume section that you could simply omit when you create a resume. Therefore, never add a reference section to your resume unless you have been asked to add references through a job advertisement or the employer.

08. Don’t make resume summary unnecessarily long

The resume summary is a mandatory section of your resume but doesn’t need to be extended unnecessarily. As a resume space saver strategy, limit your resume summary to 3 lines. That will help to shorten your document too.

09. Remove photos

Even if you add a photograph, your resume will be slightly longer. However, many countries, including the United States, don’t accept photographs to be in resumes because it could expose you to various discrimination. So the best thing is not to include your photos or other graphics in the document. This will also help you to create a resume that could beat the application tracking system.

10. Use space saving resume templates

At Resumoz, we have excellently designed space saving resume templates so you can now easily showcase more information even in the smallest amount of space. These templates are well crafted so that you can easily get any details you enter in a proper and orderly organized one-page resume.

FAQ – How long should your resume be

How many words should a resume have?

There is really no standard that a resume must have a certain word account. Also, no one, including ATS Bots, checks how many words are in your resume. So don’t spend much time tracking the word count on your resume.

How many pages should my resume be?

If you are an entry level candidate then your resume should be one page long. If you are a mid-level professional, it doesn’t matter if the resume is two pages long. If you are applying for a higher level executive position or a job in the academia field, the resume can be extended up to three pages. But a resume should never be longer than 3 pages. However, we recommend that you always limit your resume to a single page / one page.