Q: I’m an HR director at my current company and have risen through the ranks there. I haven’t even looked at my resume for the last 10 years. Now that I’m putting a fresh resume together, I have three pages of information on my current and previous jobs. Is my resume too long? Does my resume need editing? How do I do that?
A: The old limit of one page—even two pages—for a resume has been abandoned. The number of pages is not the way to tell if your resume is too long or your resume needs editing. Instead, make sure your resume is relevant, concise, and well-written and that hiring managers and recruiters will see the value in reading it.
How to tell if your resume is too long? Look out for these problems:
- Too much explanation. For example, a merger and acquisition (M&A) or critical struggle in your company is relevant if you contributed (or survived) that M&A or helped turn around that struggle; what you achieved is far more important than what your company went through.
- Repetition in listing skills at each job without any mention of accomplishments. For example, the fact that you are an expert in Excel should be mentioned once under “Computer Skills,” not repeated in every job description, unless those skills made a contribution to the company: “Used Excel to computerize and organize data for the first time.”
- Avoidance of all abbreviations and acronyms. Some abbreviations and acronyms save significant space without confusing readers. First, define an acronym like M&A (mergers and acquisitions); then use it throughout the resume.
- Overuse of adjectives and adverbs instead of giving specifics. What do you mean by “successfully” or “well-received” or “exceptional”? What made your project successful, what happened when your idea was well-received, and why were your results exceptional?
- Lack of focus. Carefully read job advertisements and postings to make sure your resume delivers exactly the information hiring managers and recruiters are looking for. Maybe you need two resumes—one to apply for positions as Human Resources director and one to apply for positions as operations director. But keep your resume focused.
You may find that you do, in fact, need a three-page resume. But if you still wonder, “Is my resume too long?” or “Does my resume need editing?”, please contact me.