Debunk the Old Myth on How Long Should A Resume Be

Attius Li- Author
Atticus Li
Resume & Cover Letters
April 30, 2024
Blog Post Feature Image

Are you struggling to figure out how long a resume should be? This guide will clear up common misunderstandings about resumes and show you how to make yours better. Let’s debunk resume myths.

Keep reading to learn the ideal length and practical tips.

Table of Contents

  1. Understanding the Resume Length Myth
  2. Debunking Resume Myths
  3. How Long Should A Resume Be
  4. The Impact of Resume Length on Recruiters' Perception
  5. ATS Compatibility

Understanding the Resume Length Myth

Many people think their resume must fit on one page. This idea comes from old rules about resumes. But, the truth is that a good resume can be longer if you have more to share. The key is to make sure everything on your resume is important and helps show why you are right for the job.

One page for every ten years of work experience is suitable. - Laszlo Bock, Senior VP at Google.

Some jobs might want shorter resumes, while others are okay with longer ones if the information matches the job needs. Always focus on including experiences and skills that match what the job description asks for.

This way, hiring managers can see your value easily without getting lost in too much detail.

Debunking Resume Myths

Debunking Resume Myths involves challenging common misconceptions about resume length and content. It aims to provide clarity on the truth behind these myths, guiding job seekers towards creating effective resumes.

Myth #1: Resumes should always be one page

Many people say resumes must be just one page. College professors often tell students this, but it's not always true. Job seekers might hear about the "one-page per ten years of work experience" rule.

Yet, for those with lots of achievements, sticking to one page can leave out important details. For example, some successful college graduates have done enough to need more than one page.

A longer resume once helped someone get jobs at fast-food restaurants and a parcel delivery company. This shows that the length isn't what counts most; what you put on your resume does.

Online job applications have changed things too. Now, submitting resumes over the internet makes the one-page rule less critical. So, focusing on clear and relevant information is key, no matter how many pages you use.

"Recruiters spend mere seconds scanning resumes. Keep your resume concise and easy to read, ideally one to two pages for most professionals."
-Liz Ryan, Founder of Provision Coaching

Myth #2: Length of Resume does not matter if content is quality

Moving from the idea that resumes should stick to one page, another common misconception is that the length of a resume doesn't matter as long as it's filled with quality content. This isn't true.

Good content is crucial, but so is presenting it concisely. Recruiters often have limited time to review applications. A resume packed with information might overwhelm them instead of impressing them.

A well-crafted professional summary and clearly listed skills can tell your story without dragging on. Job seekers need to balance providing enough detail with keeping their resumes short and engaging.

Experiences relevant to the job should take priority. Irrelevant details can distract and even annoy busy hiring managers. Conciseness shows you respect their time and understand what matters in your profession.

Myth #3: Resumes should only include paid work experience

Many people think resumes should only show jobs where you got paid. This is not true. You should also put volunteer work and times when you shadowed professionals on your resume. These experiences show that you care about learning and helping, even without getting money for it.

They can make you stand out to hiring managers looking for someone who goes beyond just the basics.

Including non-paid work shows off your soft skills, like teamwork and commitment. It gives a full picture of what you know and how much you want to grow in your career.

For example, nurses or anyone in critical care, showing volunteer experience at hospitals or health centers can prove vital hands-on knowledge that's just as important as any paid job.

It tells recruiters about your dedication to healthcare and education before even meeting you.

Myth #4: Resumes should only be sent for specific job openings

Moving on from the belief that resumes should only contain paid work experience, let's debunk another myth — the idea that resumes should only be sent for specific job openings. Networking and building relationships are essential in today's ever-changing job market.

Research has shown that a large percentage of jobs are filled through networking rather than formal job postings. Connecting with professionals in your industry can unlock opportunities not advertised publicly, providing a tailored approach to enhancing your career prospects.

It is advisable to diversify your strategies towards uncovering new opportunities as relying solely on applying for specific job openings may limit your chances of landing suitable roles.

Pro Tip:  Focus on clear and relevant info, 1-2 pages for most professionals. Recruiters skim fast, make your resume scannable and impactful.

How Long Should a Resume Be

Consider the industry and experience level when deciding on resume length. Include relevant and concise information to make a strong impact.

Consideration of Industry and Experience Level

When it comes to the length of a resume, industry and experience level play an essential role. In certain industries such as academia or research, longer resumes incorporating publications, presentations, and projects are acceptable.

However, for entry-level positions or traditional corporate roles, concise resumes with relevant information are more suitable.

The world of professional employment is not only linked to paid work experience but also encompasses internships, volunteer work, and freelance projects. Tailoring the resume towards the specific industry and level of experience ensures that only the most pertinent details are included without overwhelming recruiters.

Importance of Relevant and Concise Information

When crafting a resume, prioritizing relevant and concise information is crucial. Employers are often inundated with numerous resumes, making it essential for yours to stand out. By focusing on key achievements and experiences that directly align with the job description, you can effectively highlight your value proposition while ensuring the content remains succinct and impactful.

Avoiding unnecessary details or unrelated work experiences allows hiring managers to quickly grasp your qualifications, improving your chances of progressing in the hiring process.

Tailoring each section towards the specific job at hand showcases your ability to critically assess what information holds significance and ensures that every word contributes meaningfully.

In conclusion, by recognizing the importance of relevance and conciseness in resume writing, candidates significantly enhance their chances of capturing recruiters' attention amidst the sea of applicants.

The Impact of Resume Length on Recruiters' Perception

Recruiters form rapid first impressions, making resume length crucial. Research indicates that longer resumes may come across as self-important and may be viewed negatively by employers.

A concise, one to two-page resume is generally recommended to avoid being perceived as long-winded or overconfident. Hiring managers often face time constraints and might not thoroughly review lengthy resumes, so keeping it succinct enhances the chances of impactful information being noticed.

This has a significant effect on how candidates are perceived by recruiters.

The perception surrounding resume length influences recruiters' initial judgments about candidates applying for roles in numerous industries. 

Ultimately, the brevity of a resume can significantly impact the impression made on potential employers during recruitment processes, underscoring why mastering this balance is essential for job seekers looking to make strong first impressions.

ATS Compatibility

Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) are used by many companies to scan resumes for keywords and phrases relevant to the job. This means that your resume needs to be compatible with ATS software, or it might not even be seen by a human recruiter.

To ensure compatibility, use standard headings like "Work Experience" and "Education," rather than creative titles. Also, avoid using images or fancy formatting as these can confuse the ATS and cause it to skip over important information.

In addition, tailoring your resume towards each job posting is crucial for ATS compatibility. Use keywords from the job description in your resume to increase its chances of getting through the system, and make sure you save your document in a common file format such as .pdf for easy parsing by ATS tools.

Key takeaway: Forget the one-page rule. Tailor your resume length to your experience, job description, and industry. Keep it clear and concise, focusing on achievements that match the job. ATS compatibility matters too - standard formats and keywords help your resume get noticed!


In conclusion, resume length is more about relevance than a strict one-page rule. It's essential to consider industry norms and level of experience. Recruiters appreciate concise, quality content in resumes.

Networking and relationship-building are crucial for job hunting success. Embrace feedback and keep refining your resume to boost your job prospects!

The key is focusing on an impactful resume. Highlight your key wins and quantifiable results that show your value to the company. Ditch anything that doesn't directly contribute to that message.

Additionally, Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) are common these days. So, using standard formatting, relevant keywords, and clear headings helps your resume get seen by real people, not just software.

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