In North America, a resume for an experienced applicant is generally two pages and that of a new graduate or entry-level applicant, one page. That being said, there are no strict rules per se. It’s just a matter of convention or practice.
Consider the following factors when deciding how many pages you want your resume to be:
- Your level of experience. This is an obvious one. Your level of experience will have a direct impact on what you have accomplished and, accordingly, what you can convey in your resume.
- The length of other resumes from candidates in the same profession as you. Each profession has its own standards and practices when it comes to resume writing, hence the importance of looking at resume samples and doing proper research.
- What you have to say. It really comes down to what you have to convey in your resume. Keep in mind however that a resume should not be an exhaustive recapitulation of all that you have done in the past. The purpose of a resume and cover letter is to secure a job interview. In that regard, the resume and cover letter should present your candidacy in the best light possible. Emphasize your core strengths and accomplishments, in function of the position you are applying to, and leave out what doesn’t matter.
You may feel the need to be original when writing your resume, but be careful about it. Recruiters expect resumes to be a certain way and any attempt at changing the format of your resume to add “originality” may not produce the results anticipated. Use your cover letter for that instead.
by John Sylo