Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Evaluating Résumé Length

Put yourself in the shoes of a hiring manager for a second.  You receive countless résumés every single day, and need to read every single one carefully.  Now think about what you might feel if you came across a resume of more than three pages.

There was a time when it was not unusual for resume length to be very long, but those days have passed.  A modern résumé should be no longer than three pages.  Any more than that and you risk getting placed in the "rejected" pile.  Although boring an employer is part of the problem, a long résumé will also make you seem long-winded.  And if you are applying for a job like a grant writer, it's even more important to show you can be concise.

You need to be concise, but that doesn't mean you can simply shorten your résumé and call it a day.  You are going about this the wrong way if all you do is list your previous work experience.  In a previous blog post, I wrote about things you need to include in your nonprofit résumé.  You should look over that post to see what you absolutely need to include before you start cutting things left and right.  The most important thing to remember is to tailor your resume to the job you are applying.  Cut out anything that holds no relevance to the position.

As for the final length of your résumé, it all depends on your level of experience.  Use the following guidelines to help you:
  • College graduate: No more than one page.
  • Moderately experienced worker (5+ years): No more than two pages.
  • Extremely experienced worker (15+ years): No more than three pages.
If you want even more résumé advice, be sure to check out the career resources section on The Nonprofit Jobseeker.

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