What Is the Ideal Length of a Résumé? (15 Tips & Checklist)

Size DOES matter.

Reviewed by Electra Michaelidou

Resume Length

Imagine you’re buying a train ticket to Jobville.

There are two trains leaving the station at the exact same time: one takes the direct route without any stops, and the other takes the more scenic — albeit longer — route. Assuming that ticket prices are the same, and there aren’t any delays, the obvious choice will be to take the first train.

Now résumés are kind of the same thing, at least for hiring managers. They want to quickly get the information they need from your résumé to determine whether you’re a great fit for the job.

But how do you quickly — and effectively — tell employers what you’ve done and what you can do? Just how long is a résumé supposed to be?

In this guide, we’ll learn about the ideal length of a résumé, and how to cut it down if you need to.

How many pages should a résumé be?

Recruiters have a short attention span — between 6 and 13 seconds, depending on the study being cited. And considering how they have to review about 250 applications for a single job opening, it’s no surprise that they speed through applications — at least for an initial screen.

This means that the more concise (and impactful) your résumé, the better the chances of it being read from start to finish.

In most cases, the ideal résumé length in 2024 is one full page. This should provide a detailed overview of your experience, education and skills, carefully tailored to the job description.

Can I use more résumé pages than the ideal number?

Yes — but only in the following, very specific, situations:

1. You have sufficient, relevant experience

How long should a résumé be for professionals with extensive experience and a long list of impressive achievements, such as promotions and vertical moves? Well, a one-page résumé will rarely suffice in painting a vivid picture of your professional journey.

In this case, it’s perfectly okay to go over the “one-page rule”, so long as it makes sense to do so. Two or three résumé pages should be enough to clearly present the information that’s pertinent to your target job.

2. You’re writing a CV

Unlike a résumé, which is used for more “traditional” industry jobs, a CV is intended for jobseekers within STEM and particularly academia. And unlike a résumé, a CV typically exceeds 1–2 pages to cater for extensive lists of publications, patents, awards and memberships.

So, how long should a CV be?

Typically, academic CVs are 3–5 pages long — but there’s no exact limit on the number of pages you can use. In fact, 10- and even 30-page CVs aren’t uncommon.


The world record for the longest curriculum vitae is held by Dr Manish Das, a Supreme Court advocate in India, whose CV extends across 61 pages!

3. You’re applying for a job abroad

If you’re taking your job search abroad, it’s a good idea to first read up on local résumé conventions regarding length standards (and general best practices), as they will likely differ greatly from those back at home.

For example, while 1–2 pages is customary in the US, the United Arab Emirates generally prefers 2–3 pages, while 4-page résumés are by no means uncommon in South Africa.

Whatever the case, make sure your résumé is sized accordingly. If you write fewer — or more — pages than what local conventions call for, you could be setting yourself up for failure. Indeed, it could potentially show a lack of interest in the job — or even respect for tradition, especially if you’re applying for a job in a more conservative country.

How long can a résumé be for my career level?

As a guide, this graphic will help you determine the ideal length for your résumé, depending on your level of professional experience:

Resume Length Career Level

But remember: this is just a guide. Your particular situation may call for a longer, or shorter, résumé. For example, if you’re a recent graduate, you would generally only need one page; but if you work in academia and have a long list of research papers and other publications to your name, you may need a second or even third page.

What should I do if my résumé is too long?

If your résumé has gone over the ideal length for your experience level, you’ll need to do some careful “pruning” and “trimming”. And the following tips and suggestions will help you do just that.

1. Limit your contact information to one line

A great first trick to reducing the length of your résumé is to list your contact information in the letterhead on a single line (as opposed to multiple lines) so it doesn’t push the main content any further down the page than necessary.

Do this by separating your location, phone number, email address and LinkedIn profile URL with a special character or symbol like a forward slash (/), vertical line (|) or round bullet (•).

If you need to include more contact information (like your personal website and Zoom account) and don’t have enough room for everything on one line, it’s okay to create a second line. But no more than that.


Consider shortening your LinkedIn profile URL by removing the “https://www.linkedin.com/in” part. Ultimately, you should be left with just your name, like so: “/john-smith”. However, make sure that the hyperlink itself contains the full URL.

2. Keep your work experience relevant (and recent)

If you list every single job you ever held, even those that have nothing to do with the position you’re applying for today, you’ll likely end up with a novel-like résumé. And, mark my words, no recruiter would be inclined to read it.

Your best bet is to only list jobs that demonstrate your expertise and knowledge in your target industry. For example, if you’re applying for a senior banking job, that 6-month stint as a server while at college will do little to support your application. 

Meanwhile, a good rule of thumb is to limit your résumé to the last 10–15 years.

3. Use a single column

Using multiple columns can be helpful in creating an esthetically pleasing design, presenting information more effectively and keeping your reader engaged. But the gutters (the padding between columns) that they generate take up valuable real estate — no matter how you adjust them. Because of this, it’s best to stick to a single column.

Multiple columns, meanwhile, can’t be properly scanned by applicant tracking systems (as they jumble up information) — another reason to avoid them.

4. Keep paragraphs to a minimum

As a general rule of thumb, you should only use one paragraph within your entire résumé, and this should be for the career summary or objective statement section, which should be limited to about 5–6 lines.

Otherwise, bullet points are the way to go (particularly for your experience section) — use 3–6 for each position (consistently), and limit each bullet point to 2 lines at most.

Meanwhile, keep sentences short — between 14 and 20 words, and no more than 25 words.

5. Remove unnecessary information

Unless it’s directly related to the job you’re applying for, take it out. This includes outdated skills, personal details, irrelevant experiences and (unless you are an entry-level jobseeker and have limited work experience) hobbies and interests.

Meanwhile, including a references section is an outdated practice, and adding the phrase “References available upon request” is simply a waste of space. If you must, attach a list of references as a separate file to your application, although employers will typically request this of you only after making a job offer.

6. Delete personal pronouns

While you should write your résumé in the first person (and never in the third person), there’s no need for personal pronouns like “I”, “me” and “my”. They’re somewhat redundant, as the hiring manager knows that they’re reading about your experiences and your qualifications.

By eliminating unnecessary pronouns like these from your résumé, you make more space (however little) for far more important information, like your accomplishments and qualifications. Your résumé will also sound less repetitive, less “me, me, me” (or, rather, “I, I, I”), and more professional.

7. Make it all killer, no filler

One of the biggest résumé mistakes I’ve seen jobseekers make is use flowery or subjective language to present their experience — which only increases the length of their résumé and, worse, dilutes their achievements.

A better idea is to use objective language. For example, instead of describing yourself as a “specialist” or an “expert”, talk about the actual results of your efforts.

Likewise, avoid buzzwords like “proven track record”, adverbs like “frequently” and anything else that could be considered as filler or fluff.

8. Use digits for numbers

One of the golden rules of résumé writing is to quantify your achievements with data and metrics. But when writing numbers, it’s a good idea to use digits instead of spelling them out — even small numbers like “Closed 2 major deals” or “Managed a team of 11 accountants”.

For large numbers, like thousands, millions and billions, it’s also a good idea to abbreviate them — for example, “1,000” can become “1k”, and “5,000,000,000” can become “5 billion” or, better still, “5b”.


When talking about money, you only need to include the currency symbol, not its code or a combination of both. For example, write $1 instead of USD1 or US$1. The latter, however, may be necessary to avoid ambiguity between different dollar currencies like US$ and CA$.

9. Use symbols to express values

When talking about your achievements, you’ll very likely need to use phrases like “more than”, “less than”, “over” and “under”. And that’s okay — when you have plenty of space at hand.

But when space is a commodity, consider using symbols and special characters to express values, like “<”, “>” and “+”.

For example, instead of writing “Led a team of over 20 accountants”, write “Led team of 20+ accountants”. Likewise, “Closed 5 major deals generating revenue of more than $100m” can easily become “Closed 5 major deals generating revenue of >$100m”.

10. Play around with formatting

If you can’t cut or edit down the content of your résumé any more than you already have, consider experimenting with its formatting to meet the ideal length.

For starters, you can decrease the page margins to 0.5” (on all sides), change bullet indents to 0.15–0.25”, and line up bullet points to the left page margins.

Another idea is to play around with the fonts. Consider switching to styles like Calibri or Arial Narrow, which take up less space than, say, Verdana or Arial. Meanwhile, depending on the particular font style you choose, you could shrink its size down to 10 or 10.5 pts (and 14 pts for section headings).

Do, however, make sure that the styling and formatting changes you make don’t affect your résumé’s readability.

What about if it’s too short?

If you’re a recent graduate or changing careers, or you otherwise have limited work experience, you’ll likely have little content for your résumé.

But there are ways to expand on your professional and educational journey — without fluffing up your résumé. These quick tips will be helpful in doing just that:

  • Provide details about your education. In 3–4 bullet points, mention notable coursework, awards and honors, and extracurricular activities.
  • Use a skills summary to highlight your transferable skills. Select the 3–5 most relevant to the position, and, in a few bullet points, provide evidence on how you used each one in the past.
  • Include a section for hobbies and interests. Choose those that are directly relevant to the job (for example, maintaining a personal blog ties well into a content writing role).
  • Add extra sections. Mention pertinent courses, licenses, certifications, awards, professional memberships and anything else that will help you better market yourself.

Résumé length checklist

Achieving the perfect résumé length can be tricky, considering how much there is to remember. We make it easy with our free, downloadable checklist!

Resume Length Checklist

Download the checklist

FAQs related to résumé length

We’ve covered everything you need to know about résumé length, but you may still have some questions. We’ve answered some FAQs below:

Q: What’s the ideal word count?

This will ultimately depend on how many pages you use according to your specific experience level, career situation and target industry. However, 475–600 words is generally a good length to aim for.

Q: How much of the page should I use up?

The content of your résumé should, ideally, take up one full page (or a minimum of three quarters of the page). If you’re using more than one page, aim to fill up at least half of the final page.

Q: What are widows and orphans?

In typesetting, a widow is a paragraph-ending line that starts a new page, while an orphan is a paragraph-ending line that consists of one or two lone words. Both look strange and waste valuable space — so, if they occur in your résumé, rework or edit sentences or even entire sections to eliminate them.

Q: Can I use acronyms and abbreviations?

Although abbreviations and acronyms of industry-specific terms can help you save space, you should avoid them. This is because many recruiters will likely be unfamiliar with your field’s “language”, so it’s best to write out terms to make sure everyone understands them.

Q: Is a half-page résumé ever okay?

Sadly, no. You may have limited work experience or none at all, but if you only write a half-page résumé, recruiters may form an unfavorable opinion of you: that you’re either lazy, disinterested or lackluster. And no employer wants to hire someone with these qualities.

Key takeaways

At the end of the day, the content of your résumé is far more important than its length — it should be as long as you need it to be.

Indeed, while a one-page résumé is the most generally accepted length, leaving out crucial details could hinder your chances for job search success. If your particular career situation, target industry and diverse achievements call for a second or even a third page to accurately show off your work history, then so be it.

Still, it’s a good idea to keep these key points in mind:

  • Aim for conciseness. Abbreviate large numbers, remove personal pronouns and take out filler words.
  • Review the formatting. Use a single column, customize the line spacing and adjust the page margins.
  • Be specific. Make sure your skills, experience and qualifications match the requirements of the job you’re applying for.
  • Remove unnecessary information. This includes personal details, references and outdated skills.

Got a question about the length of your résumé? Let us know in the comments section below.

Originally published on November 16, 2017.