Many of us have been in our professional careers for quite some time and we find it difficult to keep a resume to two pages or less. Career and resume coaches tell us that this is a common discussion with job seekers — encouraging them to be brief and to hit the highlights.
Your focus should be on the last ten years of experience, and the experience that is relevant to the new position you want. There are some caveats to the general two-page rule. For example if you are a senior level executive your resume will likely need more than a couple pages. Or for resumes that are only in electronic formats that are in key word searchable databases, page-length doesn’t matter. However content does matter, so don’t take that as license to be too wordy. You must capture the reader’s attention up front no matter the format.
Your resume is an advertisement to get you into the conversation. If you’re having trouble shortening it ask yourself, “does everything I’ve included directly help me get an interview?” If not, delete it.
Having a long and distinguished career will give you lots to talk about in your interviews and follow up, but a resume is not an autobiography. It’s an introduction. Besides if you say it all in your resume, what will you have to talk about in the interview?
How do you feel about a text box on page one that serves as an at-a-glance summary of the full resume, then take a few more pages to flesh out the details (but no more than, say, 3)?
True there are lots of ways to be able to share your resume, but we need to think of 1) the conduit and 2) the input.
The conduit is typically an Applicant Tracking System, ATS and these won’t support a text box at the moment. Also most recruiters that I have spoken with really just want to see the first few lines of a resume to determine yes or no to continue. Remember we are in the age of brevity and needing to catch someone’s attention within the first few second.
Second is the job seekers who tend to write very long resumes because they believe getting all this information out will attract attention. Unfortunately it won’t. It is best to say the additional information for follow-up conversations, interviews, and thank you letters to keep the recruiters/hiring managers interested.
The resume is an advertisement not the full story.
I’ve been using a 3-pager and an expanded 6-pager, each one leading off with my LinkedIn profile. Can’t say that I’ve been successful (yet), but the approach seems to be appreciated.
Also, even after the 6-pager, I will always have a lot to talk about!