Resume Tip: Length of a Resume

By: Sandi Ohman

Due to technology innovations, the job application process is not as clear cut as it has been in years past. One process that has been impacted is the length of the resume. Some conflicting examples are:resume length3

–          One page resume is enough, while others say two pages are required to properly show off accomplishments and help the candidate stand out.

–          A one page resume is appropriate if the candidate has less than five years of experience; five years or more can have a two page resume

–          Three pages is okay if the candidate is applying online

These examples can be confusing, prompting questions such as: When is a two page or more resume okay? How can everything fit on one page, especially if incorporating keywords from a job description?

It is hard to clearly answer each scenario since there are a lot of ‘if …, then …’ in each question. Here are some brief answers that can be used as a basic guide:

  1. Student or recent graduate, little to no work experience
    • One page resume is ideal if giving a hard copy resume to a recruiter/manager
    • When applying on-line, two or more pages are okay, as long as the resume content is relevant. This allows for keywords to be incorporated and help the resume make it through filter systems
  1. Non-traditional student, possibly previous military experience
    • Two page hard copy resume is more commonly acceptable but make sure the content is relevant to the position
    • Two page plus resume when applying online is acceptable
  1. Alumnus with experience
    • One to two page resume, depending on the relevancy of the experience to the position being applied to
    • Two page plus for an online resume is common
  1. Alumnus making a career change
    • Scale the resume back to one page, showing relevant experience to the new career, as well as special training that demonstrates skills in the new career area
  1. Federal Resume
    • This is an online resume that is numerous pages. It is best to use the resume wizard/builder in the website, and page length won’t matter

What if the resume is more than a page but not two complete pages? An online application whether there is a page and a quarter or a page and three quarters, or two full pages, length is typically not a problem. However, hard copy resumes either need to be one full page, leaving some white space, or as close to two pages as possible. Ask a professional for their feedback on how to fill in the resume more if it is shorter than two pages and a hard copy resume is needed.

While most companies expect resumes, fewer professions in the US require curriculum vitae (CV). CV’s are more often a minimum of two pages, but typically more than two pages. More information on CV’s can be found on the Career Services website found at

Resumes are always changing, whether format, length or content. Keep in mind the most effective resumes are tailored for each position, whether that means one or two pages.

Sandi Ohman is the Senior Program Manager in the Career Services Office at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.  She has been with the university for over 9 years and has advised students in most all degree areas while in Career Services.  Sandi brings additional experience having worked in the finance industry for over 6 years in her previous career.  She received her Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from the University of Florida, and her Master of Arts degree in Educational Leadership from the University of Central Florida.

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