When Should My Resume Be Longer than Two Pages

Posted by Chrissa Dockendorf

How long should your resume be if you have 20+ years experience?

It depends on the position you’re applying for.

And it’s definitely a personal preference for a recruiter as to how many pages a resume should have. Different recruiters like different things. That’s true in all aspects of your job search.

The key questions:

  1. Are you communicating your work achievements that are relevant to the job description?
  2. Do you meet the requirements of the job description?

Those two questions should be your main concern. And for most positions and most cleared job seekers, that should be accomplished in two pages.

However, if the contract requires me to show that you have 15 or 20 years experience, you have to show me that experience on your resume. It’s more important to provide the relevant work achievements to demonstrate that extent of experience than to stick to a hard and fast 2-page rule in this case.

And if you don’t specifically show me that you’ve got the 20 years experience required by the contract on your resume, I’m unlikely to contact you to fill in the blanks. That’s why you need to do your homework and customize your resume to every position you apply for.

Senior-Level Positions

Another instance where it’s common to see a resume longer than two pages is if you’re applying for a senior position. For example Vice President or higher.

Typically these level positions require 20 years or more experience. If they do allow a shorter number of years’ experience, you still usually have to demonstrate a deep level of experience with the unit or department you will be running.

Improve Your Resume

No matter the length of your resume, be sure that you focus on your achievements and relevant experience vs. your responsibilities.

When you shorten your resume, one-line any past position that isn’t directly relevant to what you’re doing now and the position you’re applying for. For those less-relevant positions just list job title, years worked and who you were supporting.

If you have achievements that aren’t relevant to the position or what you want to do, you don’t have to include them. Training that isn’t relevant? Don’t list it.

Focus on what you’ve achieved in the last 5-10 years.

The bottom line is you must customize your resume for every position you apply for. Let that customization drive the length of your resume.

Chrissa Dockendorf is a Talent Sourcing Specialist with Randstad Sourceright, specializing in high-level degreed candidates with high-level clearances. Chrissa also serves as the ClearedJobs.Net Military Transition Liaison, aiding transitioning service members in their job search. Follow Chrissa on Twitter @MissionHired.


This entry was posted on Wednesday, January 22, 2014 7:12 am

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Notify me of updates to this conversation