Finding the Balance between Length and Content

This article was originally posted Aug. 7, 2012 by MarketStar’s Careers Blog.

How long should your resume be? Our recruiters will tell you it depends on the job.

The general rule for length is one page and for most of MarketStar’s positions that holds true. Sandra , one of our recruiters, said she prefers one page resumes with bullet points so she can see an applicant’s experience and education at a glance.

“The shorter the resume is to me, the better,” she said.

Obviously, the higher up you go, the more you will be expected to share on your resume and the longer it can be. When seeking a position that requires a high level of responsibility and experience, a longer resume is okay.

“My higher level marketing positions are generally three pages long,” she said “because I need more specific information and experience for those positions. Entry level positions, though? I am fine with one page, because I can look at them in a snap.”

Jenn, another of our recruiters, said no matter how long or short you make your resume, the most important thing to show a recruiter is experience.

“If I can see what experience they have, that’s the key,” Jenn said. “I care more about seeing the experience they have relevant to the position, than having it down on one page.”

Sandra suggested one way to balance recent experience and relative experience, while still condensing a resume down to one page. After making sure the last few years are all accounted for, she suggested a separate bullet point with something like “Other relative experience 1992-1997, 2000-2004” may be used to conserve space.

Additionally, candidates can prepare a longer resume to submit to recruiters or hiring managers after the initial interview, providing the company with more in-depth, pertinent information.

Jenn said no matter when your relevant experience may have been, always be sure to list the past five to seven years of work history.

How do you decide how long to make your resume? If you had to condense your resume down to one page, what do you think is the most important information to share?

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