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Sunday, September 10, 2006

How Long Should My Resume Be?


Cutting your resume down to size may be as painful as cutting off your baby toe for some...but in today's world shorter is better.

It's a fact that corporate resumes should be no longer than two pages long for people with a lifetime of experience. Remember an employer only wants to see the last ten years of your work history. If for example, you’ve done many things during your career but the experience most relevant to the job you're seeking occurred in 1992, you might consider writing a functional resume. There are tricks for overcoming your lack of work consistency that can still make you look presentable on paper.

Your resume should high light the skills described by the job description which should be treated as a sacred document. Recent graduates or those headed for their first job should write resumes that are no longer than one page. There are exceptions, of course, to the rule. One client at Resume Crafters had a scientific background with most of her relevant experience in two internships. The articles she created were published in a prestigious scientific journal. The resume focused on her hands on studies in nature, awards and papers. In another case, a young anthropologist had most of her relevant experience not in jobs but in internships where she got to use the skills she was trained for conserving exhibitions. Most employers don’t want to read more than one page and are over whelmed with thousands of replies to their job advertisement that appear on line search engines such as Career Builder, Monster, Net-temps, or Hotjobs. Keep this in mind when you edit your resume.

Resumes written for the government have different rules. Each agency has its own criteria for writing your resume these days that is described in information accompaning the job description at website where you can search for jobs. Government agencies are trying to reduce paper work across the enterprise and want shorter resumes. If you recall in the past, the 171 form was used to apply for a federal job. While you can still use this form or the shorter 612, agencies prefer a shorter resume. However, there are exceptions. The Holocaust Museum, for example, limits the number of characters and spaces you can use in developing the text for each position. Several months ago an executive position was open in the marketing department. According to a job specialist, the length of the document could be from two pages to 16 pages. The number of spaces and characters were specified and they numbered in the thousands. Resumes, I was informed are scanned and matched against specific job criteria that have been set up for each job. The resumes that make the final cut are set aside. Several months down the road high-ranking job candidates are interviewed.
Barbara LaBier


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