Optimal Resume Length in 2024: How Long Should A Resume Be?

Should your resume be one page or two? How many words per page? What about more experienced hires? This guide will answer those questions and more.

2 years ago   •   8 min read

By Rohan Mahtani
Table of contents

Phew — you finished writing your resume! It has action-based accomplishments, relevant keywords, and sections to highlight your education and hard skills. It’s also three pages long … so how big a problem is that, really?

In this guide, we'll answer all your questions about resume length, including:

  • How long should a resume be?
  • How important is a one-page resume?
  • What needs to be on your resume — and what doesn't?
  • How do you cut your resume down to one page?
  • How do you fill out a resume if it's less than one page?
  • What's the difference between a resume and a CV?

How many pages should a resume be?

While it's a lot more common to have a two-page resume than it was 10 years ago, a one-page resume is still the standard. But this isn’t an absolute rule — it’s flexible depending on how much experience you have.

As a general rule of thumb, you can get away with one page for every 5-10 years of relevant experience you have. Which means that as an entry-level or early career hire, you'll want to stick to one page. If you’re a mid-career or more experienced applicant, you may need to expand your resume to two pages. More than two pages is pushing it, even for high-level positions.

So, when should you stick to the one-page rule, and when is it okay to have a two-page resume (or longer)?

The ideal resume length for all situations

Remember how we said that a one page resume isn’t a hard and fast rule? Here’s when you should follow that rule — and when it’s okay to break it.

Entry level job seekers

If you're a current student or recent graduate, you should always stick to a one-page resume. This also applies to anyone with less than 5-10 years of experience. Recruiters value resumes that are short and to the point, so give them what they want.

Career changers

If you’re considering moving into a new industry or completely different role, you should generally stick to a one-page resume. This is still true even if you have extensive experience in your previous field — most of that experience isn’t likely to be relevant to the jobs you’re now applying for, so you don’t need to include it in detail. It might be okay to go up to two pages if you’re including a lot of transferable skills, but do make sure they’re all actually relevant.

Experienced hires

For mid-level hires — people with around 8-15 years of experience — two pages is an acceptable resume length. That doesn’t mean you need to use a two-page resume — if everything fits onto a single page, there’s no need to stretch things out just to emphasize your depth of experience. Two pages will usually suffice for more senior roles, too. It’s rare that you’ll ever need a three-page resume; while sending one won’t immediately disqualify you on its own, recruiters are also more likely than not to simply ignore a third page.

Industry-specific resume conventions

In certain industries — like banking, finance, and consulting — standards for resume length tend to be a lot stricter. If you're in one of these industries, stick to a single-page resume unless you have more than 10-15 years of experience.

In other industries, like medicine or academia, longer resumes are a lot more common. You may even be asked to submit a CV instead of a resume (more on that later).

International resume standards

The one-page resume is a U.S. standard. If you’re applying for jobs overseas, other countries will have their own expectations for resume length and format. For example, two or even three-page resumes are more common in countries like Australia and the U.K., so be aware of local customs before you apply.

What to include in a one-page resume

Not sure what information actually needs to be on your resume — or what you can safely cut? A standard one-page resume should include:

When you boil it down like that, it's clear that you won't usually need more than one page to fit all that in. But what if you've gone over 1-2 pages and need to trim your resume down?

How to cut your resume down to the right size: A step-by step guide

Follow these steps to cut your resume down to 1-2 pages:

1. Leave off older work experience. Anything older than 15 years is unlikely to be relevant.

2. Remove excess bullet points. You can include 3-6 accomplishments under your most recent roles, but older positions may only need 1-2 bullet points.

Keep your resume short by paring down older jobs to 1-2 bullet points.
Keep your resume short by paring down older jobs to 1-2 bullet points.

3. Eliminate duplicate bullet points. If you already have a similar accomplishment elsewhere in your resume, you don’t need to list it again under a different position.

4. Minimize your education section. Unless you’re a current student or recent graduate, your education only needs to take up 1-2 lines underneath your work experience. Mention your degree, institution, and any major awards, but get rid of things like your GPA, coursework, and extracurricular activities. Including the year you graduated is optional, especially if you want to reduce the chance of age-based discrimination.

The education section of your resume should only take up 1-2 lines on a one page resume.
The education section of your resume should only take up 1-2 lines on a one page resume.

5. Cut the resume summary. Most resumes don’t need a summary at all, but if you do choose to include one, keep it to 2-3 lines max.

6. Get rid of unnecessary sections. Things like volunteer work, projects, hobbies, and skills only need to be included if they’re actually relevant to the job you’re applying for. Otherwise, they don’t belong on your resume.

7. Don’t list references on your resume. Potential employers will ask for your references if needed once they hit the appropriate stage of hiring.

8. Trim your contact info. This only ever needs to be a single line at the top of your resume.

Manage your resume length by keeping your contact information concise.
Manage your resume length by keeping your contact information concise.

9. Don’t include images or graphics. This includes a photo — this may be standard in some countries, but not in the U.S.

10. Reduce your font size, margins, and line spacing — but only a little. This can be a last resort if your resume spills over by a line or two, but don’t overdo it in the name of fitting in one last bullet point.

If you’re not sure if your resume needs to be one page or two, upload it to the tool below — it’ll evaluate your resume and give you feedback on resume length and other key areas hiring managers care about.

How to fill out a one-page resume

What if you have the opposite problem — you've written your resume but it still doesn't cover a whole page?

  • Enhance your education section. If you're still in school or graduated recently, you can include extra information here, like academic awards and honors, extracurricular activities, study abroad, and even relevant coursework.
  • Include other kinds of work experience. Internships, student activities, and volunteer work can all go in your work experience section if you're applying for your first professional job.
  • Emphasize transferable skills. Even if you've never held a similar job to the one you're applying to, you can still write bullet points that highlight relevant accomplishments.
  • Don't sweat it. Especially if you're new to the workforce, your resume doesn't need to cover a full page. It's better to leave some room at the bottom than to cover every available inch of blank space with information that isn't relevant.

On the topic of skills, use the skills search tool below to get a list of hard skills and keywords relevant to the job you’re applying for.

Why you need a one-page resume

You want recruiters to focus on the most important parts

Keeping your resume concise is key — but why? The answer is, hiring managers just don’t have enough time to read every resume in detail. Most recruiters will spend only 15-30 seconds on each resume they read — and that’s a generous estimate.

This number doesn’t magically increase if you send in a two- or three page resume, which means that the longer your resume is, the less time a recruiter will spend on each page, and the higher the chances that they’ll miss a key piece of information.

It keeps your resume relevant

Having a short resume isn’t a bug, it’s a feature. Setting your resume length at one or two pages forces you to evaluate what information is really essential and leave out unnecessary details. Everything in your resume needs to be relevant to the job you’re applying for. Every bullet point should be impactful, every skill one you need for this job in particular. And always make sure your key accomplishments are at the top of your resume, especially if it’s longer than one page.

Resume vs CV: How long should a CV be?

The difference between a resume and a CV

Most jobs in the U.S. ask for a resume, which is usually one page. In some situations, you may be asked for a CV instead. A CV — short for curriculum vitae — is a longer, more comprehensive document. A shorter CV could be 2-3 pages long, while a more extensive CV may be as long as 7-8 pages.

When to use a CV instead of a resume

Never submit a CV instead of a resume unless you actually need to — you'll likely already know if you're in a role or industry where this is the case. You may need a CV if:

  • You work in an industry (like academia) where CVs are more common
  • You’re applying for jobs overseas in a country where a CV is standard

Frequently asked questions

Will I get rejected if my resume is longer than one page?

No. You won’t be automatically rejected if your resume is longer than one page. But if you’re a recent graduate with a two-page resume, or you’re a mid-level hire sending out 3-4 page resumes completely out of line with industry standards, it may cause recruiters to wonder about your professional judgment.

How many words per page should a resume have?

Between 450-650 words per page (or around 800-1200 words for a two-page resume) is ideal. Less than that means you risk your resume looking a little empty, while more means that it’s too difficult for a recruiter to scan. If you avoid tiny margins and 0 line spacing, your resume should easily fall within the ‘readability range.’

Do I need to stick to full pages only?

No. If you’ve been told that it’s never okay to leave the second page of your resume half empty, that’s a silly rule and you should feel free to ignore it. A one and a half page resume is fine — never pad your resume with unnecessary fluff just to take up more room or make your resume look more attractive. That said, if you only have 1-3 lines spilling over onto the next page, it’s a good idea to cut it down so it falls neatly onto a single page.

Is it ever okay to send a resume longer than two pages?

There are some exceptions to the 1-2 page resume rule. One of these is for very high-level positions — think C-level positions, not just any management position. The other is for academic jobs, which have their own set of industry standards and often require a full CV and list of publications.

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