There are many opinions on the topic of how long a resume should be. There’s also a ton of research that states based on your level of experience, having a lengthy resume is fine. Meaning, that if you are just beginning to enter the job market then having a one-page resume is acceptable.
As a reader, I would interpret this as meaning that having 5+ pages for mid-level personnel or higher is normal. However, I wonder if the experts who are giving this information actually have to read resumes on a regular basis. The answer to that question is probably not. Therefore, I want to provide a different perspective as a recruiter. Brace yourselves….
Research has shown that most recruiters spend, on average, between 5-7 SECONDS per resume NOT minutes reviewing resumes. This means, if your resume is 5+ pages long, with your most relevant information for the job you’re applying for on page 7; need I say more? I understand that you may want to highlight all of your accomplishments and success stories, which may cause for your resume to be long. However, look at it this way, you are not writing a novel, nor are you writing a biography on your life...but a resume. You’re applying to a job that requires a specific set of skills, which likely means that all the information on your resume may not be relevant for that job. It’s important to revise your resume for each job you apply to.
Making revisions will also help your resume to be shorter by only highlighting relevant experience. List all relevant experience, but the key is to keep it to a minimum. You don’t have to list every accomplishment on paper, you can use the interview to highlight other achievements not listed. Another tip is to tailor your resume; if a job description asks for 5+ years of experience, ensure at least 5+ years of experience is displayed on your resume.
My personal recommendation is that your resume should not be more than 2- pages long. Only having 2-pages is not to mitigate your experience; however, it forces you to display your expertise strategically to keep it short and sweet. Remember, you may only have 5-7 seconds to get noticed. There are a lot of ways to format your resume to display up to 10 years of experience while keeping it to 2- pages. This leads me to my next point, you don’t have to list every job you’ve ever had on your resume. I would say keep it to a 10-year maximum unless the experience is relevant to the role. A good tip is that you can list experience with a bullet point or provide a summary within your resume, which effectively highlights that experience. The take away is to keep your resume short and sweet and highlight relevant information that answers the requirements of the job description.
How often do you update your resume?