Should my resume be one page or two pages? Could I get away with 3 pages!? I’ve got 35 years of experience – how on Earth do I fit all that on one page?
Some would suggest that there is a fine line between having too brief a resume and too lenghty a resume. I would suggest the line is as wide as superhighway and largely pointless.
The resume needs to be as long as it takes to convey who you are and how you can help. It can be a powerful, ad sheet type presentation, complete with logo’s and testimonials on one sheet like the Guerrilla Resume or it can be a more traditional chronological resume spanning 3 pages.
I have not needed a resume for a while now, but I still maintain 3 versions – yes you guessed it – a 1 page, a 2 page, and a 3 page resume. I generally lead with the 1 or 2 page resume. I would leave a 3 page resume behind after an interview.
But more to the point, Phil makes an excellent case that it is not necessarily the length of the resume but the words that you use that matter.
Take a hard look at the examples that he uses. They are excellent.
What are your thoughts?
Resume Words FAQs: How Many Words Should Be On A Resume?
by Phil Baker,
Have you run a word count on your resume? Typically there are from 400 to 700 resume words per page depending on a few factors. Students, new graduates, and entry-level candidates with less work history often have lower total word counts. What if you have too few words or you are way over the upper end of 700?
How many words should be on a resume?
You need to be sure you have included all the skills and expertise you have that the employer is seeking. Because of font sizes, white space, layout and formatting, the count is not a critical factor. What is critical is: WHAT terms you use and if the format is reader friendly. Rather than counting your resume words you need to make sure every word counts!
Can my resume be too wordy?
Yes. Wordy is defined as: the excessive use of words. Wordy is not always a measure of the total quantity used but rather the ones chosen. Here is an example:
Managed the total and entire retail store including each and every of the 29 full and part-time new and experienced employees that were in retail sales on the floor for the store.
That is an actual statement from a resume prepared by a certified resume writer! The word count is 33. The following statement says the same thing with 27 less words!
Managed retail store with 29 employees.
Get the idea? Wordy is the use of irrelevant or unneeded terms. Statements should be concise.
Now the statement is succinct. What can be added to this example is an accomplishment. That will have far more impact than creating wordy proclamations.
Managed retail store with 29 employees and created incentive program which reduced hiring turnover by 24%.
See how much more that statement says than the original sentence? And that is still 17 words less than the first example sentence. Word quantities alone mean nothing. So your resume could be lacking in quality descriptions of your experience and accomplishments and therefore not have enough words, or include irrelevant or unneeded terms and then have too many.
(Side note from Hyo – This discussion of wordiness is even more applicable to cover letters in my humble opinion)
What are power resume words?
These expressions impact the reader (employer) and instill a specific confidence or belief. Some are adjectives and can be used to support statements about specific skills. They often need to be accompanied by measurable results to have maximum impact. This is achieved by creating accomplishment statements.
What are resume keywords?
These terms frequently describe your knowledge, skills, and abilities though they can also have other definitions such as geographic locations, job titles, or certain employer names. They are the terms employers enter for digital scanning and use in job postings to describe the knowledge, skills, abilities, and attributes they are seeking in candidates. You need to match your skills with as many relevant keywords as you can. The three main sources for these are:
- the employer job description or posting
- the corporate culture of the employer (Usually found in communications within the company and on their publications, messages, website, social networking sites, and press releases.)
- industry jargon from publications, news, and the web.
What are skill words?
These expressions describe skills and sometimes abilities, talents, expertise, and other qualifications. They become resume keywords when the target employer has used them to describe what they want to see in candidates. These expressions are critical for passing document scanning and for being recognized and tagged as a viable candidate.
Can I use pronouns?
Pronouns are generally not resume words. This type of writing presents a challenge as the statements are not grammatically correct in accordance with most English education. One method of making this type of writing easier is to create your statements with pronouns and then remove them when you are done.
Is it a good idea to use big or complicated terms the employer might not know?
No. You will not impress employers by using uncommon or generally unknown language or acronyms. Look for an ordinary synonym as a replacement or eliminate a complex or difficult expression.
Are there words I should NOT USE on my resume?
Hyo’s Note – Not only is Phil the creator of the OneClick Cover Letter Creator Software Program (a ridiculous easy to use, yet effective software that creates cover letters tailored to your needs) which you can visit here, or you can read my review of it here, but he also has a tremendous website, www.ResumeDictionary.com. Resume Dictionary might just be the best, free resume resource site out there.
Other articles by Phil Baker