Tech & Work

Why you should keep your resume two pages or under

One of the hardest things to get people to do when they create their resumes is to keep the length down. But here is how to do it and why you should.

One of the hardest things to get people to do when they create their resumes is to keep it to a manageable length. I don't care how many times I say it, or how many statistics back it up, some people just will not keep their resumes down to one or two pages. I could have 1,000 hiring managers swear on a stack of bibles that they never look past the second page, and people will still argue this point with me.

So I'll bravely attempt this one more time: A resume should not be more than two pages long. Why? Because it is a marketing document, not an autobiography. You will not get a job based on your resume. You will get an interview based on your resume. You will get the job based on the interview, in which you can expound on your job experience to your heart's content or until the interviewer grows a long white beard and keels over.

Also, keep in mind that the sheer volume of your experience does not impress a hiring manager unless that experience is directly related to the job at hand. Some people have trouble differentiating between what is important in their minds from what is going to be important to a hiring manager.

That year of web design experience you got was most undoubtedly valuable to you personally, but to someone who is looking for a network administrator, it may just be distracting.

An equally important thing to remember in creating your resume is to write your accomplishments, not your duties. And try to qualify these as much as possible. Was one of your job duties tech support? Put that down but put it in terms of a big call volume. Did you lead a tech rollout? Mention the cost of the rollout and that it ended on time or on schedule. Maybe it involved coordinating several disparate groups across the company.

A neat trick to use is after you write any accomplishment, ask yourself, "So what?" What value did you bring to the company because of that duty? Even if you can't really exactly quantify a time or money savings, you can round an amount down (e.g., 20 percent, thousands of dollars, etc.)

Unfortunately, this world has a what-can-you-do-for-me mentality and you'll see that most acutely in a manager who is sifting through 30 resumes for one job opening. Don't make your resume a chore for a hiring manager to read.

About

Toni Bowers is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and is the award-winning blogger of the Career Management blog. She has edited newsletters, books, and web sites pertaining to software, IT career, and IT management issues.

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