Career Advice » Resume structure

Resume Length, Format, and Structure

Can a seven-page magazine article keep your attention? Now think of a hiring manager who receives dozens of resumes every day. If she gets a seven-page resume, she will probably skip most of it or she won’t read it at all.

Resume Length

Keep your resume short. As a rule of thumb, it should be one to two pages long. A busy recruiter will not read thoroughly longer resumes. So, investing time to shorten your resume may pay off. Length guidelines:

  • If you have six to eight years of professional experience or less, one page is often enough. To achieve that, question each and every sentence in your resume and make sure that every word counts!
  • For a longer period of experience, two pages is the norm.
  • For executive positions (like chief technology officer or head of accounting), a three-page resume is common.

Your resume should be easy to read and visually pleasing. Don’t overcrowd your one page. Although keeping it short is important, a two-page, easy-to-read resume is far better than a crowded one pager. If you end up with a 1.5–page resume, increase the spacing of sections and paragraphs to make it two pages. It looks much better that way!

Resume Format and Structure

Do you list your employment or education in reverse chronological order? Or do you opt for a functional resume listing your competencies and experience in order of significance and relevance? There are no absolute rules for writing your resume.

Recruiters, however, consider the chronological format to be the most appropriate for the vast majority of professionals. It shows clearly the experience and career growth of job candidates listing the most recent information first. In this article, we will describe and give examples of the structure of a chronologically organised resume.

A typical resume consists of the following sections:

Header
Name and Contact Information
Introduce yourself
Career objective or Career Profile
Prof. Experience
Description of your previous and current employment
Education
Tertiary and professional education
“Extras”
Professional affiliations, skills (including IT skills), honors and awards, publications or anything else worthwhile mentioning that does not fall under work experience or education, etc.

Write these sections in the order listed above. Some job candidates like fresh graduates, however, may describe their education before their work experience. We will discuss each of these sections in the following articles.

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