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How Long Should a Resume Be?

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Have you ever been sitting in a meeting or training session, frantically trying to take notes but barely being able to keep up with all of the information thrust upon you? This could very well have been a case of information overload. Too much information presented at once is not good for anybody.

The same goes for your resume.

But how long should a resume be? While the one-page rule you may have heard isn't the answer, it's also true that your resume should not be one long list of everything you have ever done. It should be a well-thought-out (and well-edited) document that showcases your qualifications as they relate to the position for which you are applying. Remember: Quality over quantity.

So where do you start?

One of the most common perpetrators of resume information overload is the "Skills" section. Anything more than eight bullet points can be too much. If you're above this limit, first read through the job description for the position you are applying for. Which skills do you have listed that are not mentioned in the positional requirements? Remove those first. For example, while the ability to type 80 words per minute is phenomenal, if typing speed is not a need for the position, you can remove it.

The other area on a resume that can be hard to trim down is your Work Experience section. While you may wear many hats in your position, everything you do may not be relevant to the position for which you are applying. The typical rule of thumb is to try not to exceed seven bullet points per position. This gives you a chance to showcase your "best of the best" accomplishments without miring down the hiring manager in too many details.

Remember, the point of your resume is to show the potential employer that you are qualified—and the best candidate for—that specific position. They are not concerned with every detail of your past work experience, just the parts that will add value to their organization. For example, if you once were a retail manager, maintaining a clean area could have been a part of your responsibilities; however, the employer is far more interested in your experience managing employees, handling payroll and other leadership skills.

In the end, when considering how long should a resume be, remember that if you keep in mind the simple rule of quality over quantity, your resume and your search may very well be more successful.

Interested in more posts on job search-related topics? Check out our Career Development blog.

If you're a current AIU student or alumnus looking for more career advice, please contact the Career Services Department at 877-221-5800 Option 5 or at