A while back, a client of mine was horrified that the résumé I created for her was 3 pages long. According to everything she had “read”, 2 pages is the recommended maximum, blah, blah, blah….
Sorry, but that’s total bull doo-doo.
It’s less about how “long” it is and more about how quickly and effectively you communicate your value proposition. That’s what you should be concerned about more than if it’s 2 or 3 pages.
That being said, you have to deliver a compelling message in as little words as possible. So, yes, it shouldn’t be a novel.
Just for the record, that client I mentioned previously LOVES her résumé which had generated interviews and job offers from Hiring Managers.
So, I guess the lesson for today is take anything you read with a grain of salt including this post, I guess! 🙂
FACT OR FICTION #1: Your résumé should be no more than 2 pages
The length of a résumé is commensurate with the amount of work experience. A senior level person would require more pages than a high school student.
The more important thing is, how well (and quickly) you communicate your value proposition on the top half of the first page. The subsequent pages are just the details.
1 page isn’t long enough for anyone, even a junior person. It just screams “not enough” experience.
2 pages is the ideal minimum for many people.
3 pages is perfectly acceptable, especially for more senior-level people.
4+ pages might be required in some instances but you need a really great reason for it.
If you don’t grab immediate attention on the top half of the first page, it doesn’t matter how long your résumé is – the reader might reject it and move on to the next, better résumé.
Most of the résumés I write are 3 pages and they have generated interviews and job offers for my clients.
FACT OR FICTION? You should never show your location
I agree that you shouldn’t publish your full mailing address for security reasons.
But since location is a key selection criteria and often used in a search string, by not including location, you are in effect be excluding yourself from coming up in a search.
It also bugs the crap out of me when people exclude their location because now I have to find out where they live. I’ll either forget or not bother and will move on to the next résumé.
The other thing is, by not showing your location it just screams “I’m trying to hide where I live so that you interview me”. You can be immediately disqualified due to using this tactic.
Where you live will most likely determine if the employer will consider you or not. That’s just a reality.
My advice is to be transparent and include your location. Delaying the inevitable discovery is counter-productive for all parties.
FACT OR FICTION? You should never use the first person
Traditionally, a résumé doesn’t use “I” statements. I tend to agree that this is the best way, because you can start each bullet point with a strong action verb which grabs attention.
However, I don’t think it’s wrong to write the professional profile/career summary (the paragraph at the top of the résumé) in the first person. If done properly, this can create a more personalized and engaging document by injecting a human voice.
FACT OR FICTION? You no longer need a résumé
You are a product/commodity. The job search is a sales process. The employer is your target audience (consumer). The job vacancy is the hiring pain. Your résumé is a marketing document.
The fact is, you need a tool that introduces you as the perfect “product” for the “target audience’s” “hiring pain”. Today, that tool is what we call a résumé.
Think about it. Did you need to send a résumé the last time you got hired? If you’re like most people, that would be a resounding “yes”.
Even if you know someone on the inside or are referred, 9 times out of 10 the Hiring Manger or Recruiter will say something like “Great! Send me the résumé”.
You need a résumé, so get over it! ?
FACT OR FICTION? You have to list all of your job duties under each employer
Unless you have little to no work experience, avoid making your résumé a laundry list of every task. Just because you did something doesn’t mean you did it well.
You also have to be strategic about what you include so the résumé doesn’t end up being more than 2 or 3 pages.
Include a few, strong impact statements that give the reader some scope and context about the kind of contribution you made that go beyond just job duties. What kind of solutions did you come up with? What were your accomplishments? What challenges did you conquer?
FACT OR FICTION? You should list every single job
If you have little experience or are re-entering the labour market after a long absence, then listing all of your work experience is probably a good idea.
If you have a tonne of relevant and progressive work experience, you might choose to focus on only the last 10 or 15 years. Or less, even.
The strategy will depend on what you are trying to achieve. Are you making a lateral move or transitioning into a different job function/industry? That usually dictates how many years you go back.
The fact is, what you did more than 10 years ago is often considered ancient history by many. Employers tend to put more emphasis on the more recent experience.
You also have to be careful about showing too much experience as not to be labelled “over qualified” or “too old”.
FACT OR FICTION? You should list your hobbies/interests
The problem with revealing any personal information is that you can be judged unfairly. The employer might think you’re “weird” or there’s a potential conflict because of what you do in your spare time.
My advice is to not include anything of a personal nature on your résumé. Anything that gives clues about your age, health/fitness status, sexual orientation, political/religious affiliation, etc. are better left undisclosed. It’s your business and no one else’s.
If you choose to add this information, then stick with things that are actually relevant to the position you are applying for, otherwise it could backfire big time.
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I draw from over 15 years recruitment, career/job search coaching, and sales/marketing experience to help all kinds of jobseekers stand out, get noticed, and get hired for their dream job.
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