There are few rules when it comes to resumes, particularly when many resumes are fed into a keyword searchable database. There are some general guidelines, however, for resumes that will be reviewed by a human.
1. College and graduate students should generally stick to one page. Most people in the very earliest stages of their career don’t have enough experience to merit more than 1 page, even if you’ve had several meaningful summer internships in college, or worked for 1-5 years before graduate school.
2. Professionals with 10+ years of experience should typically have resumes 2-3 pages long
. The resume is the first critical screen to being invited for the interview. Your resume should provide enough detail about your experience to get you invited to interview. Consider using supplemental pages to incorporate additional information, such as awards or greater detail on particular accomplishments to not clutter the resume. These supplemental pages can be included with your resume or not, depending on the opportunity you are pursuing.
You have only seconds to capture the interest of the reader. Regardless of length, your resume must capture the attention of the reader on the first page, ideally the first half of the first page. If your resume doesn’t accomplish that, chances are it will end up in the discard pile. Focus the content in your resume on YOUR significant achievements at both current and former employers, and quantify the impact you had whenever possible.
There are other formatting guidelines you should keep in mind that can make it easier for an individual to quickly scan your resume and identify key skills and experiences.
• No more than 2 fonts on the resume
• Use indentations, italics and bolding to aid readability but use them consistently. For example, all position titles are highlighted. Remember that your key selling points need to be very clear on the page.
• Use reasonable margins, such as 1” all the way around
• Include page numbers and your name on each page if your resume is 2 pages or more