Is A 3-Page Resume Is Too Long? [Best Practice]

Are you wondering whether a 3-page resume or more is too long? Unfortunately, the answer to this question is complicated. Generally, the ideal length of a resume should be one page. However, some factors determine the length of your resume: your industry and employer.

When applying for a job, it can be effortless to make the costly mistake of not getting your resume right. Some employers appreciate a polished application with impressive achievements, but others don’t care much for long lists of your accomplishments.

This is understandable – after all, something exciting and unique about you should say why you are worth hiring. So what’s the best way to present yourself? Is a 3-page resume too long?  Read on to find out.

How Long Should a Resume Be?

In the United States, the most common resume length is a page. The resume should provide all the information needed to decide for the recruiter while staying as brief as possible.

The length of your resume varies according to the job you apply for. If you are applying for your first or entry-level job, you can make it as short as 1 page. If you are applying for a mid-level position, you can make it as short as two pages. 

Your resume may be longer than three pages if you apply for a higher or senior-level job with vast experience. But, remember that keeping your resume short, precise, and attractive is important. 

The recruiter will spend about 15 to 30 seconds reading your resume before deciding whether to read it. Make sure you have all the essential information stated, and if you have time to add more, go ahead. 

Why Are There So Many Opinions About Resume Length?

I can’t speak for the industry or the convention, but I’ve noticed that resume lengths correlate with experience levels. In my experience, most entry-level resumes have one page, most mid-level resumes have two pages, and most senior-level resumes have three. 

The reasons for this are pretty simple – the more experience you have, the more you can put into your resume, and the more you can put into your resume, the more you can fit onto one page. 

A second explanation is that recruiters and HR people dislike resumes that go over one page because they believe it wastes their time. As your experience grows, you need more information on your resume, and the more you need, the more you irritate HR.

SEE: Learn more about what human resources do

How to Keep Your Resume Shorter Than Three Pages

1. Use the proper resume format or structure

One of the best ways to have less than a 3-page resume is to use the proper resume format or structure. This means organizing your information in a way that is easy to read and digest. Start with a clear and concise summary of your qualifications, then include your work history in reverse chronological order. 

Be sure to include only the most relevant and impressive information. Finally, finish with a section highlighting your skills and accomplishments. Using this format, you can ensure that your resume is concise and impactful.

SEE: Find out what the title means on an application

2. Keep it relevant 

When it comes to resumes, less is more. To achieve a less than 3-page resume, only include information relevant to the job you are applying for. This means tailoring your resume to each job and only incorporating the most pertinent information to that particular position.

For example, if you are applying for a project manager job, you don’t need to include your experience as a lifeguard from 10 years ago. Keep your resume concise and relevant, and you will be sure to make a good impression on potential employers.

SEE: Discover soft skills for a project manager

3. Highlight your skills and experience in a concise way

If you want a less than 3-page resume, concisely highlight your skills and experience, and there are a few things you can do to achieve this. First, focus on the skills and experience most relevant to the job you’re applying for. 

Furthermore, be concise in your descriptions; use bullet points and clear, concise language. Finally, don’t hesitate to use white space to your advantage. A well-designed resume with plenty of white space will be easier to read and less overwhelming than a densely-packed one. 

SEE: Discover skills employers want to see on your resume

4. Tighten your work history

If you’re looking to make your resume more concise, one way to do so is to tighten up your work history. Start by cutting out irrelevant or outdated information, and focus on your most recent and relevant experiences. 

Next, try to condense your descriptions down to a few key points. Doing all of this should help you to reduce your resume to a more manageable size.

5. Play with size and font

Another tip for having less than a 3-page resume is to play with the size and font of the text. For example, you can use a smaller font size for the body text and a larger font size for the headings. 

This will help you to fit more information onto each page without making the text too small to read. You can also use a narrower margin width to fit more text onto each page.

6. Remove fluff

Your resume is your calling card, so make sure it stands on its own by removing all traces of fluff (the non-essentials) and leaving out unnecessary details. 

Fluff can be the worst – it may make you seem like a fun, friendly person. However, fluffing your resume could make it appear longer than it is. 

Focus on highlighting your strengths, experience, and accomplishments.

Conditions that May Warrant a 3-Page Resume

1. Your profession requires a CV instead of a resume

If you are a doctor, nurse, or engineer, you will have a CV. The CV is a collection of your work history and achievements, while the resume is more specific and is used only by recruiters and employers. 

If you’re applying for an accountant or engineer job, it’s probably better to get a CV than a resume. This is true, especially if you have more than 10 – 15 years of work experience.

2. You are employed by or applying for a job with the government

If you are applying for an appointment with the government, you should include at least three pages of your resume. In this case, your resume should be more than just an application. It’s a marketing tool that tells a potential employer what you have to offer and why you are qualified for the position.

If you don’t have enough experience to justify such a lengthy resume, then break down your past experiences into sections that make sense compared to other applicants’ resumes. 

3. You want to target multiple job titles at once

Suppose you have specialized skills that are relevant to multiple industries or companies. In that case, you’ll want to create a multi-tasking resume that includes a standard application and a separate cover letter for each position title. 

This way, prospective employers will know what you’re offering them in terms of experience and expertise when reviewing your application.

FAQs

What is the difference between a CV and a resume?

A CV is a longer and more detailed document than a resume, and it is often used in academia or for applying for fellowships or grants. A resume is a summary of your experience and skills. CVs include more information about your publications, presentations, and awards, while resumes focus more on your work experience and skills.

Can a one-page resume get you a job?

Yes. A one-page resume allows you to concisely list your skills and experience, which can be helpful when applying for jobs. It is the ideal resume length.

Are resumes still relevant for today’s job hiring process?

Resumes are still relevant for today’s job because they provide employers with a way to learn about your work history, skills, and education. Plus, resumes can help you stand out from the competition and get your foot in the door.

SEE: Understand recommendation letter signature to boost your employability

Can you make money by crafting a good resume?

Yes, you can make money by crafting a good resume. 

SEE: Compare top websites that pay resume writers

Final Thoughts 

It is widely accepted that a resume should not exceed one page, no matter what your background is. Anything more than that is a waste of space. However, some experts feel that the more experience you have, the more places you have worked, and the more skills you have, the more pages you need. 

There is no hard and fast rule about resume length. It all depends on how much information you want to convey and if you are applying for a particular position or a broader set. The regular industry standard is a 1-page resume for fresh graduates, 1.5 pages for experienced, and 2 to 3 pages for senior executives with vast experience. 

But it is up to the candidates to be more specific in the resume and provide more information to the employer.

The website has something for you if you’re a recent graduate and you’re wondering if you need a resume to apply for your first job. To learn more, read the article that explains if you need a resume for your first job.

Thanks for reading.