How Long Should A Resume Be in 2021? (With Tips to Fit on One Page)

How Long Should A Resume Be in 2021? (With Tips to Fit on One Page)

Keeping your resume on a single page keeps it focused and straight to the point. But sometimes it might not be easy to fit it all on one page. When should you use two pages versus trying to fit it all on a single page?

Written by Ed Moss • Last updated on Mar 01, 2021

The resume has long been the key component of any job seeker’s application process. 

It’s the first impression of yourself when you apply for any job. 

Since it’s impossible to sell yourself in person for every job you apply to, your resume sort of does this for you.

On paper, this seems like a simple process. 

However, the problem is that simply creating and submitting a resume just isn’t good enough. 

You need to submit something that will tell your story and capture the attention of the hiring manager, enough to be granted an interview.

Just remember to focus on telling your story. 

It’s not listing out a bunch of facts and responsibilities. 

This is your chance to showcase your value to the company you are applying to. 

Each section of your resume should talk about what you bring to the table and how you are going to make the company you are applying to better.

In this article, we’ll learn how to map these sections to your resume length.

How Long Should My Resume Be?

Here’s the quick infographic cheatsheet:

  1. Entry-Level (1 Page)
  2. Mid-Level (1-2 Pages), ideally one.
  3. Senior-Level (1-2 Pages)
  4. Skill-Based Candidates (1-2 Pages)
  5. Healthcare-Based Candidates (1-2 Pages)

Keep reading to see why these resume lengths might be dictated by your experience.

1) Entry Level (1 Page)

The first question most new job seekers with little to no experience — usually pertains to how long their resume should be.

The general rule is that entry-level candidates or anyone with less than 5 years of experience should limit their resumes to one page.

It is important to understand that the person looking at your resume has to review dozens if not hundreds more by the end of the day.

A hiring manager or HR rep will not take the time to read a multi-page resume that has been submitted for a non-executive position.

2) Mid-Level (1-2 Pages)

If you are a mid-level candidate and have 5-10 years of experience, you are entitled to a second page if you need it.

However, it is key to still be as concise as possible.

TIP: Emphasize your key points across on the first page in case they do not both read both.

Remember, the goal at this step is not to win the job.

The goal is to simply convince the reader that your experience warrants an interview

That is where you can go in-depth about each stop in your career.

3) Senior-Level (1-2 Pages)

Senior-level employees are considered anyone with over 10 years of experience.

This includes executives and managers who have a long list of past positions and accomplishments they have to list.

It is also important to remember that these jobs are high-paying and require an industry veteran with plenty of experience.

Therefore, it is acceptable to submit a more detailed resume highlighting your experience — that is up to two pages.

Once again, it is key that each page of your resume tells an important story.

4) Skill-Based Candidates (1-2 Pages)

The page rules stated above may be broken if you are applying to a tech-based job like Full-Stack Developers, IT Specialists, and Graphic Designers

This is due to the number of skills and certifications you need to list.

Also, you may have several projects that you need to list out in order to demonstrate your competence in those skills.

If this is the case, you can expand your resume to two pages regardless of career length. 

However, once you are done, scan your resume to confirm you are not being repetitive.

5) Healthcare-Based Candidates (1-2 Pages)

Similar to tech-based candidates, those applying for healthcare-based jobs like Nursing and Physical Therapy, can be expected to submit a longer resume as well.

The reason here is that most of these candidates will need room to list and explain their various accomplishments.

This includes things like licenses, research papers, patents, and publications.

Can you use a two-page resume?

To summarize the above — yes, you can.

You just need to make sure that your most critical pieces of information are highlighted on the first page.

If you're an entry-level job seeker, than you won't need an additional page.

Continue reading our tips and suggestions below to see how you can condense your resume space to stand out on the first page.

Can you use a three-page resume?

We’d strongly recommend you don’t add more than 2 pages to your resume.

The chances of a recruiter reading the second page is already fairly low.

And that’s only if you’re someone with 10 or more years of experience.

But, a third page? Slim to no chance. We don’t advise it.

Choosing Resume Formats for Appropriate Lengths

Formatting your resume can be incredibly overwhelming.

This is one of the reasons so many candidates use our resume-building software.

Because they don’t need to ever worry about formatting issues.

Overall, there are several different types of formats that are out there with no real guidance about which one would work best for you.

For example, the three most common resume formats are:

  1. Reverse-Chronological. If you have mid-senior level work experience, then you’ll most likely use this.
  2. Functional. If you’re an entry-level candidate, you might need to highlight other areas like skills since you lack work experience.
  3. Hybrid/Combination. If your occupation requires you to demonstrate technical skills and proficiencies along with work experience, then use a hybrid resume format.

Now, while several of these templates can work, it is important to understand how your format can both tell your story based on your experience and limit your resume to the most appropriate length. 

You have to assume that the further down the resume you go, the fewer hiring managers are going to read it.

So regardless of the resume format, it is actually more important to start your resume with a brief summary statement.

Why? Because usually the resume summary will be the first thing a recruiter reads besides your name, and this is common across every resume format.

Here’s a tip: One of the most common mistakes people make is to write a generic overview statement with played-out buzzwords. Avoid doing this.

Instead, use this space to write something engaging that makes the reader want to learn more about your story and your objectives.

It also allows you to use the space below to list other accomplishments and keep your resume to the desired length.

How Do I Shorten My Resume to Fit on One Page?

As proud as you may be about your career, it still needs to be kept to the recommended length. 

Remember, the hiring manager has plenty more resumes to go after yours.

After you have listed out your past work experience and history, you may find yourself needing to shorten it down to your desired length.

Below are a few key tips to help you condense your resume length.

1) Be Clear and To The Point

When trying to reduce your resume, be sure to review each line for repetitive statements.

For example, you do not need to point out you did the same thing at every job you have had. 

Also, remove statements that do not directly refer to a skill you have or an accomplishment you’ve completed.

Tip: Remember, you can always expand on certain items in the interview. No need to list every detail on your resume.

Another trick involves how many bullet points you assign to each position.

Review the skills they are looking for and tailor them to the job description.

What past jobs demonstrate those skills the most?

Those are the positions that should be 4-5 bullet points because it’s most relevant.

The first couple of positions on your resume can be limited to 2-3 bullet points because they are not as relevant or because you are mentioning similar things with your other positions.

2) Use Legible Fonts at Smaller Sizes

Choosing a good font for your resume that works in small sizes will make sure your resume is legible and easy-to-read.

Fonts like Arial, Tahoma, Verdana, and Calibri are safe fonts to go with that will still look good at smaller font-sizes.

Even though you might be used to seeing other documents using a size 12pt font, you may even need to reduce your font size to 11pt or 10pt to fit everything in.

The key is to make it small enough that it can still be read clearly when printed and on the screen.

3) Watch Your Margins

The margins on your paper are not something you think a lot about.

This is because they are pre-set and work in most cases.

However, you can play around with them in order to utilize the white spaces on either side of your text.

As a general rule, you do not want to make your margins smaller than half-an-inch.

Also, we suggest making a copy of your resume before you start playing with the margins just in case you make a mistake you cannot fix by messing around with settings.

4) Use Italicized vs Bolded

One last trick you can try is reducing the number of bolded words you have throughout your resume.

This may help if your resume currently has one or two lines that are spilling over to another page.

If you are trying to emphasize a point, try changing the bolded words to italicized to see how much space that saves you.

5) Show Less Education

You don’t need to trace back your entire student transcript.

You can minimize the length of your resume by reducing education details on your resume.

Depending on the position and education requirements, only list the most relevant forms of education.

For most mid-senior people, you can just show your recent colleges and universities that you’ve attended. No need to add high-schools. 

Instead, focus on your experience. 

If you’re an entry-level job seeker, then you might want to add more details surrounding your education, including volunteering and internship opportunities.

Conclusion and Key Takeaways

So how long should a resume be? Here are the key takeaways:

  1. If you’re a new job-seeker, use 1 page.
  2. If you have a lot of experience, use no more than 2 pages.
  3. Don’t use 3-page resumes.
  4. Resume format doesn’t matter as much, focus on your summary!
  5. Shorten your resume by cleaning up formatting, trimming detail, and removing irrelevant information that does not align with the job.

Just remember, the resume creation process is complex but completely manageable.

We try to make this as easy as possible for you by providing you with helpful content and an easy-to-use resume builder with customizable options and templates.

The key thing to know is that you are telling your story and showcasing your value.

You want the hiring manager to feel like they have no choice but to bring you in for an interview. 

This is accomplished by presenting a well-organized and appropriate length resume that clearly outlines your relative experience and the various ways you will improve the company you are applying to.

Beautiful resume templates to land your dream job

Ed Moss is an author for Easy Resume

Ed is a co-founder of Easy Resume. His background in scaling teams at tech startups over the last decade has given him extensive experience and knowledge around how to hire top talent and build successful teams. He enjoys mentoring, coaching, and helping others reach their career goals. When he's not writing about career-related advice, he's playing with his dog, Lilo, or going on long hikes in upstate New York.

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