What’s the right length for a Résumé


The challenge in the employment field is that there is little hard evidence on some fundamental questions. In a business climate where we apply metrics to everything this seems counter-intuitive.

One area where there is considerable disagreement is what the proper length for a résumé is. A quick internet search will provide a multitude of opinions but very little fact. As an employment professional this has always disturbed me because many of those opinions were, in my judgement, just plain wrong.

So to try and address this problem I decided to put together a small questionnaire. In the interested of full disclosure I want to state for the record that this questionnaire was not professionally done and that the sample size was small so the results, while suggestive, are not conclusive.

First some background. Of the respondents. just shy of 78% where responsible for hiring as part of there job description.

First, to the main question:

length

While I was not particularly surprised by this outcome, I was surprised by the margin considering the diversity of opinion in the “press”.

For me, however; the most interesting question was the one below:

length-2Not a single respondent said that they would categorically disqualify a candidate whose résumé did not meet their length expectations. This flies in the face of anecdotal evidence to the contrary.

Conclusion

From my perspective the “safest” résumé length is two pages since it was the clear winner and considering that only a very small percentage of respondents would even consider holding it against you if you were wrong. For those of you that are currently struggling with this question I hope that the information provide here will offer some guidance and reassure you that the world of candidate selection is not completely arbitrary.

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