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Resume Writing

Resume Page Rules

If you can effectively fit your resume on one page, that's great! But the "rule" that resumes must fit on one page is often impractical in these modern times of job hopping and mass layoffs.

The same goes for the contrary "rule" that resumes should provide one page for every ten years of experience. Although it's less rigid than the one-page rule, ten years of experience can easily spillover onto a second page these days.

Many resume writing experts believe that you should include all relevant information, instead of sweating page-count rules.

Still, do be concise to keep your resume as brief as practical. Provide just enough enticing detail to stir up employer interest and get your foot in the door.

Remember, your resume serves only as your calling card to land an interview; that's where you'd elaborate instead of in your resume.

Also consider that recruiters and employers are barraged by resumes; subsequently, they typically only scan resumes in under 60 seconds. The idea is to catch their eyes quickly, so that they'll pay closer attention to your resume or at least place it in the "maybe" stack for later reading.

Briefly summarizing your qualifications up front in your resume is a better way to to accomplish that, than wordily detailing your qualifications either up front or later in your resume.

To keep your resume even briefer:

  • Skip writing personal pronouns such as I and my; it's the preferred method anyway.
  • Include some particulars in your cover letter instead of in your resume, which is one of the purposes of a cover letter. Always include a tailored cover letter with your resume whenever possible.
  • If you're well into your career, then omit internships and hodgepodge jobs that you worked before you started your first real career job. Typically, employers are interested in only your career-related experience, going back up to ten years or so.
  • If you're just starting out in your career, then, of course, you'd include internships and hodgepodge jobs to show that you have real-world work experience; however, if you worked several internships related to your career and you need the resume space, then skip "burger-doodle" and other hodgepodge jobs that were unrelated to your career.

If your resume goes over two pages, then evaluate page layout, relevancy and wording. If it goes over three, consider retiring!

For examples written by professional resume writers that demonstrate these points well, see the sample resumes in the Resume and Letter Center.

Curricula vitae are a somewhat different ball game than resumes. Because CVs are typically more detailed, you might have to go over two or three pages. (In fact, depending on the target audience, a CV can be up to six pages or more.) But, again, do be concise to keep your CV as brief as practical.
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