How Long Should a Resume Be (With Tips and Examples)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 19 April 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

A resume is a crucial part of job applications and there are many factors to consider when creating one. Different industries often have their own best practices on how to structure your resume. Understanding what elements to consider when determining the length of your resume may help you secure more job opportunities. In this article, we discuss how long should a resume be, the different factors that affect the length of a resume and explore some tips and examples on how to structure a resume.

How long should a resume be?

If you're applying for jobs and wondering how long should a resume be, it's important to consider whether you're a student or an experienced professional. Typically, the longer you've worked, the longer your resume can be. For entry-level roles, hiring managers may process many applications daily. For hiring more senior and specialised candidates, there are fewer vacancies and candidates, so hiring managers have more time to review each candidate.

If you're applying for entry-level roles, try to keep your resume to one page. For more senior or specialised roles, consider using up to two or three pages depending on how many jobs you've had and the achievements you've earned. Even longer resumes are sometimes acceptable in certain industries, especially project or contract-based industries. For example, construction managers often include a list of their completed projects and creative professionals may use unique formats, such as a website resume.

Related: Q&A: How Long Should a Cover Letter Be? (With Example and Tips)

Tips on how to structure your resume

Here are some tips to consider when writing your resume:

Stage of your career

A recent graduate's resume can focus on their academic qualifications by highlighting specific courses relevant to the role, their grade point average and any extracurricular activities, such as being part of a student council or organising campus events. If you have internship experience, you can consider shortening the education section and elaborating more on your internships. Once you've accumulated some entry-level roles, you can consider focusing on the work experience section over the education section. The more work experience you have, the less relevant your education may be to hiring managers.

Related: Career Development Plan: Definition, Guide and Example

Keep your resume concise as possible

Hiring managers may have several candidates to consider, so they may only briefly scan your resume to consider you or not. It's important to highlight the most relevant information, so a hiring manager can quickly understand your qualifications. Ensure everything you include is relevant and beneficial by avoiding unnecessary details and redundancy.

For example, consider including any professional university organisations, such as a law club, but avoid mentioning recreational clubs unless you had a leadership position or they're related to the role. A concise resume can help ensure a reader remembers more information about you, so they're more likely to have you in mind when making a decision.

Limit descriptions

Use a brief paragraph or bullet points to describe each of your past roles. If you use bullet points, consider limiting each description to five bullets points with each bullet being one line. If you use a brief paragraph, try to limit the content to a single paragraph with no more than four sentences. When writing about your work experience, highlight your duties, significant projects and achievements. Try to be specific by including any numbers, such as the budget of a project or the sales revenue you achieved.

Related: How to Write an ATS Resume in 5 Steps (Plus Helpful Tips)

Formatting

Formatting your resume involves choosing fonts, font size and margins. People generally use font sizes 10.5 to 12 for resumes, but it's also important to consider the font type you've chosen, as some appear larger. Consider using the largest font size that allows your resume to cleanly fit onto one or two pages, as it's also important to avoid excessive blank space. If you're struggling to fit content neatly into your resume, consider altering the margins. A good range for margins is half an inch to one inch and ensure margins are consistent on all sides.

Related: Top Resume Sample Formats (With Tips and Examples)

Get feedback

A simple way of improving your resume is by having people read it and provide feedback. You can ask your friends and family or seek professional help through freelancers. It's important to get different perspectives to understand how someone else might view your resume. If there's a consensus that your resume is too long, consider condensing or removing information. Ask people what they remember from your resume to see if you've properly highlighted your key qualifications.

Example resumes

Here are some example resumes for different stages of a career that you can reference:

Student

Here's a sample resume for a student with minimal work experience:

John Cho
john.cho@university.com
5555 5555

Summary

MFA Student in Creative Writing at Bright University, made Dean's List for three consecutive years (2018 - 2020), with study abroad experience in Japan and an internship at Crash Magazine, looking to use my strong research and creative writing skills in practical settings.

Education

MFA in Creative Writing, Bright University
Expected to graduate in 2022
3.75 GPA
Favourite fields of study: Contemporary poetry, journalism, creative non-fiction and scriptwriting
Thesis title: "Five retellings of famous local ghost stories"
Key achievement: Awarded $2,000 from 2021 Bright Literature Prize for a collection of short stories "My short lives"

BA in English, Trough University
2017 – 2020
3.6 GPA
Favourite fields of study: Literary Theory and Interdisciplinary Studies, 20th/21st Century Literature and Thinking Creatively in A Global Language
Thesis title: "The Impact of Social Media Platforms on Creative Writing in English: A Critique"

Extracurricular activities and achievements

  • Dean's List 2018–2020

  • President of the undergraduate student board from 2019 to 2020

  • Started and ran a discussion club on Postmodernist Literature

  • Chief Editor of the Trough University Website from 2018 to 2020

  • Study abroad at Japanese University in 2018

Awards and Honours

  • 2018, Trough University Literature Prize

Work Experience

Editorial Intern
Crash Magazine
June 2021 – September 2021

  • assisted in hiring and managing a pool of on-site and remote freelancers as needed, including development editors, copy editors, proof-readers, indexers, recipe testers and technical editor

  • assisted in the development, design and preparation of articles and advertisements

  • collected and distributed incoming mail and processed outgoing mail

  • provided general and editorial support to staff as requested

  • created presentations to propose magazine concepts to senior management

Key Skills

  • Academic Writing

  • Literary Criticism

  • Research

  • Creative Writing

  • Editing

Languages

  • Chinese - Native

  • English - Advanced

  • Japanese - Conversational

Experienced candidates

Here's a sample resume for someone with a couple of years of entry-level experience:

David Lai
david.lai@email.com
5555 5555

Summary

Computer Technician with 5+ years of experience in repairing computer hardware and diagnosing and resolving network and software issues. Skilled in maximising productivity by patching and upgrading various applications, planning, installing and configuring server, databases and workstations. Experience in both in-house and repair shop environment.

Work Experience

Database specialist
Trinity Information
April 2019 – Present

  • managed a $2.3 million data-integration project for a private bank that consolidated information from accounting applications, third-party market data and internal equities/fixed income applications

  • innovated efficient data-intake system that automated database update functions, enabling information to automatically populate

  • developed and tested storage strategies and disaster-recovery plan for large manufacturing company's operational database

  • enhanced users' understanding of database systems by conducting pre-implementation workshops, delivering group and individual training sessions and creating user-friendly training materials

  • coordinated the migration of project information from an existing system to new database, enabling client to produce proposals and other project-related documentation more efficiently

In-house computer technician
Pioneer Technology
October 2017 – March 2019

  • managed the installation, design and network infrastructure of 45+ computers

  • delivered desktop support and technical training on software, hardware and network troubleshooting to 35+ end users

  • coordinated all aspects of helpdesk and ticketing system, including network installation, maintenance and support

  • delivered support via phone, email and remote access on a daily basis

  • utilised effective preventive and predictive maintenance techniques improving efficiency by 30% while minimising downtime by 20%

Assistant computer technician
Troy Enterprise Solutions
June 2016 – September 2017

  • performed a variety of computer repair and maintenance activities, including onsite repairs, replacements of parts and negotiation of pricing for services with customers

  • maintained communications with clients to ensure maximum client satisfaction

  • handled up to five open requests simultaneously, resolving issues within three hours of arriving on site

  • evaluated system performance of 60+ machines to plan and execute software and hardware upgrades across the enterprise

  • employed effective troubleshooting techniques and process initiatives, which reduced downtime by 40% caused by computer and network issues

Education

BS in Engineering, Tech University
2012 – 2016
3.5 GPA

Extracurricular activities and achievements

  • Dean's List 2019–2020

  • Vice-president of robot club

Key Skills

  • Problem-solving

  • Data analysis

  • Critical thinking

  • Computer programming

  • Organisation

  • Time management

Languages

  • Chinese - Conversational

  • English - Conversational

  • Korean - Native

The model shown is for illustration purposes only, and may require additional formatting to meet accepted standards.

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