Quick Resume Tip: How Long Should Your Resume Be?

Resumes are tricky – too long, and the reader loses interest. Too short, and it looks like you don’t have much experience. The length of your resume depends, to some extent, on your particular field and how long you’ve been working. There are some guidelines, however, to make sure your resume is the ideal length. 

Focus on accomplishments rather than tasks. Certain responsibilities are not worth listing – i.e., making copies, tagging merchandise, etc. Hiring managers want to see what’s in it for them when they hire you. Focus on the improvements you’ve made in each company you’ve worked for. 

Bullets, not paragraphs. Your resume is not your biography, and it isn’t a cover letter. Rather than waxing poetic about every job you’ve had, list your most important responsibilities and move on. 

Keep it to the last 10, maybe 15 years. Unless you have a big gap in your resume and you want to list relevant experience from 17 years ago that will showcase certain skills, you should keep your job history down to the past 10 years, 15 at the most. 

CV’s are different. If you are in a field such as teaching, psychology, or medicine, you may need to write a Curriculum Vitae. CV’s are similar to resumes but contain more detailed information about your experience, research that you’ve done, and academic coursework. CV’s can be 5 pages or even more, while a resume should be no more than 2. 

This is the place to brag, not to over-explain. Your resume should tell a prospective employer why they should hire you over everyone else. I’m sure you have plenty of reasons – so don’t be afraid to show off. 

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