397: Resume

A Thousand Things to Talk About
A Thousand Things to Talk About
397: Resume

How long is your resume?

Show notes and links:

Full episode script

Applying for a job has to be one of the most nerve-wracking things to do, especially if you’ve not done it much. Trying to describe all of your experience and qualifications in a very quick, short format can be intimidating. Trying to fit it all on one page makes it even more so.

One of the most commonly-asked questions about resumes is how long they should be, likely because of this challenge. What can make it even more intimidating may be a study that is often cited (though, from what I can tell, not repeated) that recruiters often look at a resume for just 6 seconds or less before deciding if they will move forward with an applicant.

That is, of course, assuming that a human looks at the paper at all. Computerized applicant tracking systems tend to sort out and score resumes on the basis of keywords, basic qualifications, and whatever other programmatic criteria a recruiter sets up.

So after you get through a computerized system, and the 6-second overview, how much information should you include? Nearly everything I can find suggests 1-2 pages. Business Insider quotes a Google executive as suggesting that you put together one page for every 10 years of experience.

I’ll admit – I cheat. Or at least I have the last few times I’ve applied for jobs. In addition to creating a one-page resume as most job applications specify, I’ve created a website for that specific application. Which, frankly, is because I hated limiting myself to just one page.

Then again, if you’re in an educational environment, a resume is not the preferred job application documentation anyway. CV, or curricula vitae, are less about summarizing your qualifications and is more about listing everything you have ever done — which means the length could be all over the place.

This script may vary from the actual episode transcript.