How many pages should a resume be?

March 12, 2010 at 12:04 pm 1 comment

One of the questions hiring experts receive most often is: How long should my resume be? And while the answer usually is: It depends (basically on your years of experience) the real response should be: Not too long. Recruiters and hiring managers, like everyone else, are very busy and if you make them wade through pages and pages of an overlong resume, your materials likely will hit their recycle bin and you’ll never hear from them again.

Resume length is an important consideration, of course, because this is your calling card and you want it to appropriately reflect your skills and experience. You also want to avoid pitfalls that could endanger your candidacy (see Dec. 18 post, “What to avoid on your resume,” and Dec. 2 post, “How to handle gaps in your resume.”). Yet hiring managers would say that candidates typically err on the side of having a too-long resume rather than one that doesn’t provide enough information.

Here are some good guidelines for resume length:

*Typically, the length of your resume should be based on your years of experience and the variety of jobs you’ve held. A good rule of thumb is one page for a junior to mid-career candidate and two pages for a more senior candidate. In professions outside journalism (especially academia and technical fields) resumes can run three to four pages for senior candidates, but in communications and journalism a resume of that length would be a non-starter for many recruiters. One hiring expert on a career Web site recently answered the resume length rule question this way: “There is none…but remember that the longer you go, the greater the chance of boring the reader.” And a bored hiring manager is a cranky hiring manager — not a good way to start off a relationship!

*It’s imperative that your resume succinctly reflects your skills, experience, education and accomplishments. Too-long resumes typically contain too-long and meandering descriptions, which is their downfall. (See Feb. 7 post, “Repairing your resume.”) Recruiters are often scanning resumes to see if you have the basic qualifications of the job — so in bullet-form fashion indicate your experience and skills without going into a long narrative. Remember that your cover letter, other materials (such as clips) and an interview will be opportunities to further highlight your abilities; don’t put all the pressure on your resume to indicate your capabilities.

*For more senior folks, consider whether jobs you had years and years ago — perhaps when you were first starting out — are worth a longer resume. (Also, if you’re trying not to call attention to your age, you’ll probably want to drop years-ago jobs — along with their dates.) You don’t have to include everything you’ve ever done and also can group some positions (especially if you had them in the same organization) together to save space. Recruiters for journalism organizations will be looking to see how well you’ve edited your own resume, especially if you’re seeking an editing position.

*For junior folks and those just starting out, please don’t bore recruiters with all your high-school summer jobs and how you were the star in your church pageant in middle school. It’s obvious when you’re padding your resume and it raises this question in a recruiter’s mind: Don’t they have enough real accomplishments? It’s better to list a few internships and your educational and student editing achievements in a tight one-page resume than to go to a second page with experience that isn’t relevant to the job you’re seeking.

*Remember, always make it easy on recruiters and hiring managers. Don’t employ little tricks — they’re on to these — like shrinking the font size of your resume to include more details. Making a recruiter strain their eyes to read your job descriptions is not going to win you any favor with them. Ask yourself: Would you be interested in everything on this resume? And as it’s difficult to be objective about your own work, ask a trusted friend or colleague whether your resume bored them or whether they stayed with it until the end. That will help determine whether your resume is too long, too short, or just right!!

*Gotta love freelancers who come clean about their finances! This piece on looks at the upside — more flexibility, time with the family, less stress — but also the financial fallout of freelancing. Food for thought if you’re considering a full-time freelance career:

Living on a freelancer’s budget

*In the continuing effort to help college and grad students who haven’t yet landed their summer internship (time is running out, no more procrastinating!!), here is an immediate internship opening in downtown D.C. (that goes through the summer) at the American Diabetes Association:

Internship, Special Events
American Diabetes Association – Washington, DC
the “big picture” * Proficiency in Microsoft Word and Excel * Excellent communication and interpersonal skills * Ability to prioritize and handle a variety…
From American Diabetes Association

*Here are some job leads to consider and pass along:

*The Broadcasting Board of Governors has an opening in D.C. for a senior Web editor:
Senior Web Editor
Broadcasting Board of Governors – Washington, DC
The BBG is conveniently located within walking distance of the Blue, Orange, Yellow and Green Metro lines. The Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), an… $89,033 – $115,742 a year

*ICF International in Fairfax is looking for a senior communications professional to support federal government clients in the areas of defense and national security:

Internal Communications Lead
ICF International – Fairfax, VA
in strategic communications · 5+ years of experience in internal communications · Experience managing a team of communication professionals, including work with…
From ICF International

*Cox Communications has an opening in Herndon for a director of public affairs:

Director, Public Affairs
Cox Communications – Herndon, VA
in the nation, Cox Communications, Inc. is noted for… affairs, employee communication, product communications, competitive positioning and crisis communications
From Cox Communications

*The Motley Fool is looking for an online copy editor to work out of its office in Alexandria. This gets my vote for the most engaging job description of the week, so I’ve included most of it along with the link:

The Motley Fool is looking for an online copy editor.  To apply, go to, scroll down to the bottom, and click on “Work at The Fool.”


This is a roll-up-your-sleeves-and-get-dirty editing job. You’ll be on the lookout for problems of clarity, grammar, style, and accuracy, helping to ensure error-free and Foolish content. You’ll be working with a team of financial experts, writers, substantive editors, and copy editors to produce investing and personal finance information that educates, amuses, and enriches our readers.
We’re looking for only the most neurotic editors, those who can spot a dangling modifier from 50 paces and feel queasy at the sight of a mistaken stock ticker. This position calls for a lot of juggling, so we need someone who is adaptable, patient, meticulous, neurotic, reliable, and cool under constant deadline pressure. Therefore, we’re looking for someone who has had experience working for a daily or weekly publication!
As editor, you’ll publish articles directly on our website via the Fool’s content management system, so you’ll need to be technologically savvy, comfortable editing on a computer (you won’t have time to edit on paper), and adept at navigating the Internet. If you like finance or have financial experience, that’s a big plus since you’ll be reading investing and personal finance stories all day.
Primary Responsibilities/Objectives
  • Edits online and offline content for clarity, grammar, in-house style, and general Foolish tone. Typos make us cringe more than the Wise of Wall Street. You have to be able to stop them dead in their tracks.
  • Proofreads all manner of Fool content.
  • Works with online content management system to ensure correct formatting.
  • Writes headlines and promotional copy for articles as needed.
  • This is an editing job. If you don’t like copyediting for 8 hours a day, you’ll hate it.
Core Competencies
  • Ability to leap tall buildings and catch typos in a single bound
  • Grammar neurosis — you just can’t stop thinking about it
  • Attention to detail
  • Dazzling under extreme deadline pressure
  • Agility to prioritize and organize multiple projects
  • Comfortable working with Fools at all levels with diplomacy
  • Can roll with the punches — and give a few, too
  • Dependable and consistent
Preferred Qualities
  • Comfort and familiarity with content written for the Web
  • Ability to work well in a team-oriented environment
  • Patience of a saint
  • Sense of humor — if you can’t laugh at yourself, forget it
  • Strong writing skills
  • Ability to juggle porcupines
Education and Job Knowledge
  • Undergraduate degree in English, journalism, or a related field, which may be substituted for equivalent experience.
  • At least two years of professional editing experience

Note: Foolish Fools always use capital “F”s in the word “Fool” unless they are writing about something that is less than stellar.

*And to wrap up this week’s job leads (with a hat tip to, Bulletin News Network in Reston has an opening for an early-bird (early morning hours are required) news analyst/editor:

Publication or Company BulletinNews Network
Industry Other Publishing
Salary Negotiable
Job Duration Full Time
Job Location Reston, VA USA
Job Requirements If you want the opportunity to brief the nation’s decision makers, please fax your resume to 703-674-1048 or email us at In order to do this job well, you must have excellent analytical skills, writing and editing ability, and experience in either government or corporate headquarters. The ability to work very early morning hours is a must. If you love news, thrive under deadlines, and want to have a direct impact on important decision makers, BulletinNews is the place for you. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex or national origin.
About Our Company Our Company

BulletinNews produces the White House News Summary for the Executive Office of the President and additional customized briefings for governmental and Fortune 500 leaders nationwide. As an alternative to clips, our sophisticated, human-edited briefings provide an essential understanding first thing each morning of what the news media is reporting specific to each client organization.

Happy hunting! And enjoy the weekend; I’ll be back with you Monday!



Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

How to help job hunters — and what to ask for if hunting What hiring managers look for when checking references

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. sresumebuilder  |  June 28, 2010 at 4:21 am

    Thanks for your tips, i am really impressed


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