One of the toughest questions every jobseeker has to face: how long should a Resume be? Honestly, there’re no specific answers to this query. However, I’ll try and answer this complex question ‘how many pages should a resume be’ in detail.
Before proceeding to answer this question, let’s comprehend what the term Resume actually means.
Understanding Your Resume
The word Resume traces its origin to ancient France, when people from across the country and its new colonies would pour into cities seeking jobs. A Resume or CV is actually a form of introducing yourself briefly yet accurately enough to bag the job.
This brings us to the question, how do I write a Resume? There’s only one way to write a Resume. And that’s to write it in a fashion that’s internationally acceptable.
Here it’s important to remember that a Resume is acceptable in most parts of the world. However, in the US and some other countries, an employer may ask you to send a Curriculum Vitae (CV), which is a very different document altogether.
Therefore, let’s discuss how to write a Resume. That would provide you a clear idea about how long should a Resume be based upon different factors.
Resume Writing Techniques
A Resume is always written in third person. Meaning, you would be introducing yourself as another person to the employer. And the best way to write a Resume is using active voice or present tense rather than past tense.
Now this may sound a bit difficult. However, if you check some of the best Resume templates online, you’ll discover that it’s fairly easy.
Your academic qualifications usually come first while writing a Resume. That’s because an employer is looking for people that don’t have much experience or skills. And they look for candidates that can undergo training and develop a specific talent necessary for the job.
Therefore, employers usually seek a Resume from fresher applicants and those with average or scattered experience in any industry.
The second part of the Resume is your work experience if any or details about internships. The third section should consist of languages you know.
And conclude your Resume with details about your personal abilities, hobbies, memberships of any clubs or trade associations or any other information that may prove useful to an employer.
A Resume is written in the chronological order. Meaning, you’ll start by mentioning the first school you’ve attended and conclude with the last college or university from where you got the degree.
The same rule applies for writing your work experience or even the lack of it. Remember, everything in a Resume starts with the past and arrives at the present.
An example: “Sam began schooling at XYZ School since 20xx to complete his secondary education in 20xx with 123 grades.”
Similarly, for work it would be: “Sam’s gets his first job in 201x and goes on to work as XXX at AAA Company,” or something similar.
Once you know this technique, it’s really easy to create that killer Resume to bag your dream job.
This brings us back to the main question, how long should your Resume be based upon different factors?
How Long should a Resume Be
Actually, there’re no specifications on how long should your Resume be. Therefore, the only deciding factors are the circumstances and different factors. Here’re some of the main factors that decide the length of a Resume.
- Fresher or Experienced Jobseeker
- Level of Education
- Nature of Job
- Type of Employer
- Full-time, part-time, vacation or freelance jobs
Therefore, I would suggest you understand these important factors before getting about writing a Resume.
Pages of a Resume
Usually, a good Resume shouldn’t stretch more than two A-4 size printed pages. Now this may sound very miserly, especially if you’re prone to leaving a lot of spaces between sentences and change default settings of your Microsoft Word.
Therefore, the first thing I would advise is not to change default settings of Microsoft Word.
This means, you’ll use the Calibri font at size 11. You can increase the font size to 12 and choose the text shade to black instead of automatic.
With this font and size and without changing default settings on Microsoft Word, your Resume should ideally fit into two A-4 size pages. That would mean approximately 700 to 900 words.
However, this isn’t any rule as such. The number of pages can increase too.
At the same time, do not stretch a Resume or hesitate to add details merely because it would exceed two A-4 size pages. You can write up to four A-4 size pages of your Resume, but only if it is absolutely necessary.
Therefore, let’s look at structuring your Resume depending upon different factors.
Length of Resume Based on Different Factors
Here’s a suggestion that would definitely prove handy: never create a single Resume for all employers, even if you’re a fresher.
That’s because every employer has specific needs and looks for certain qualities or characteristics before hiring you. Hence, I recommend customizing your Resume based on nature of the job and company.
Fresher or Experienced
As fresher, you might wish to upload a Resume on LinkedIn some recruitment portal. Usually, most recruitment portals have their own templates where you can create an excellent Resume.
And secondly, create a generic Resume based upon the different factors that I mention above to upload on this portal. Usually, an employer will refer to the Resume you upload before shortlisting for interview.
But if you’re having some experience and looking for job, the Resume you’ll upload has to be very different. Here, it’s extremely important to understand your own strengths and weaknesses at any particular role or position you’re applying for.
Research into various job postings, shortlist your skills and highlight those you wish to offer and suit the role you’re applying.
Level of Education
For many applicants, the level of education proves to be a major stumbling block. And with good reason too. Not every student is a genius or scholar and would obviously not have impressive grades to boast.
And some of us may have been unable to complete studies for some reason or not have adequate qualifications.
That’s not a hurdle. You can confidently mention whatever your educational or academic qualifications, regardless whether they’re ordinary or impressive.
Because when an employer asks for a Resume, they’re looking for people who’re willing to exert extra efforts and learn the skills necessary for the job. Or they would have asked for CV from highly experienced candidates.
Since your educational qualification come first, write about your achievements at school and college wherever possible. This impresses the interviewer.
For example, if you’ve won quiz contests at school and mention that on your Resume, you’re directly indicating your excellent level of General Knowledge. Same applies to math, English or any other school or college subject.
Nature of Job
Now comes in the most difficult factor of writing Resume that would decide how long it should be. Here’s one tip, it’s vital to understand fully, the nature of the job you’re applying. For example, if you’re applying for job as salesperson, it’s best to customize your Resume depending on what you’ll be selling.
For example, selling chocolates from a well-known brand to stores is much different than selling insurance plans to ordinary and wealthy people. If you’ll be selling chocolates, it’s best to understand the brand, its various offerings and product range with pricing.
Here you’ll not require much convincing skills. On the other hand, if you’re selling insurance plans, you’ll require excellent mathematical skills to calculate payments and premiums and superb convincing and interpersonal skills.
In such cases, a generic Resume won’t really speak for you. Therefore, highlight your skills in your education and experience fields. If you’re fresher, you can simply emphasize these skills after writing about your education.
Type of Employer
For obvious reasons, a Multinational Company (MNC) or large corporation will require a very elaborate Resume. In such cases, you can indulge in the luxury of writing a Resume spanning four A-4 size pages with confidence.
You can emphasize and highlight every single achievement however minor it might appear. Usually, job applications at large companies are screened in a very different manner: they’ll tend to read between the lines and identify your characteristics and traits.
But for smaller employers, you can write a shorter Resume that meets their specific needs. That’s because they’ll be looking at hiring you for a specific role only. Large corporations usually will check whether you’re suitable for other departments and roles or positions.
A fresher needn’t really worry about the nature of employer. That’s because you’re looking at launching a career or need a job purely for money.
Therefore, the nature of employer doesn’t really matter much. Instead, focus purely on what skills you can offer depending upon your academic qualifications, internships and personal interests.
Fulltime, Part-Time, Freelance or Temp
How long your Resume should be also depends upon the type of job you’re looking for. Generally, a fulltime job application Resume can have a four-page long Resume. Because it implies you’re applying there to make a career and not looking at other factors.
For part-time jobs, the main consideration would be money. Therefore, your Resume can focus mainly upon skills or education, depending upon the nature of the job as I describe above.
For freelance jobs however, you need to give an astute description of your educational qualifications and skills. That’s because the freelance job market is rife with your competitors, each better skilled than the other.
Therefore, you have to be very specific while bidding for freelance jobs. In such cases, your Resume has to “sell” you or do the most part of the talking. An employer will contract your services only if you can impress them.
Such employers have a vast talent pool to choose from and hence won’t waste time on a Resume that doesn’t answer their questions and needs about your qualifications and skills.
For temporary jobs, a simple Resume on two A-4 size pages will suffice.
Now that you know how long should a Resume be based upon different factors, I encourage you to read a few templates and understand the writing style. And start creating a few mock Resumes or samples before getting down to writing the real ones for employers.