Resume Length: What Should Stay?

Page length is a subject for debate when it comes to the resume. Should you fill up the whole page? When are multiple pages okay? How many pages is too many? Instead of thinking about page length as the important piece to the puzzle, focus instead on what will best show your qualifications to the employer. Although format is important, content is king on the resume. This series of guidelines will help you determine whether or not a specific piece of information should stay on your resume.

First, ask yourself if that experience or skill is relevant to your current job goal.  Perhaps your prior job was almost the same as your current goal. Maybe you had similar responsibilities, but a different job title. It’s possible that the position isn’t directly relevant, but has transferable skills that apply to your current job goal. The most relevant items should occupy your resume. Always rank more relevant items higher on the resume.

Next, consider whether or not you have stronger experience. For example, if you have three relevant experiences, but one is significantly less important or less valuable than the other two, you may want to either de-emphasize it or find a way to differentiate the experiences.

Finally, think about how recent that experience or skill is. For example, if you are applying to a tech-related field, you probably would list the most recent software and operating systems you are familiar with, not everything dating back twenty years. In a similar way, edit your resume to show that you are up to date. Remove any excessively old experiences and dated skills.

These guidelines should assist you in determining what belongs on the resume and what is simply excess information. Remember that not everyone’s experience will apply to these guidelines, but it can be a good start!

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