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How long should a resume be?

Updated: Aug 1, 2021

Sometimes you see a one page and sometimes you see a really long one. What's the perfect length resume, or is there one?

The perfect length of a résumé like everything else we're going to discuss… there's no one perfect answer. There used to be this whole thing of a one page resume to catch someone’s attention quickly, but most employers now want a CV which is a curriculum vitae and is much more in depth. It all depends on what your industry expects and your job title expects. So for a doctor, or pharmacist, sometimes a CV is expected and they can be very long up to 15 or 20 pages because it may include all their publications and research. I would say if you are a staff level person, 1 to 2 pages is fine and for a management level person, 3 to 5 pages is expected. A good rule of thumb is if your job is very competitive you want to make it longer to display more depth to your talents. If you are not seeking a very competitive job then you can stick to the short and sweet highlights of your career and tailor it to the specific job you are after. If you have an abundance of jobs to choose from and it’s pretty easy for you to find a job, then by all means shorter is probably better so that you are not wasting too much of the hiring manager or recruiters time.

How do you know if your market is big or small? Competitive market or not?

There are 2 ways: one way is to talk to everyone. How is everyone else’s job search going? They should have a good grasp on what the market is doing. Talk to an experienced recruiter. The 2nd way is to look at your results. Are you getting some calls back? Are you submitting lots of resumes and getting nothing in return? A quality recruiter will know exactly what his clients need and whether they are able to be very picky (which means the job market is not super competitive and they have plenty of people to choose from) or if his clients are having a very hard time filling a job. If your job market is competitive make sure your resume thoroughly lays out your exact responsibilities, how many people report to you, how large your employer is, how large your department is, etc. It is so much better to have correct and thorough information on the market size before starting your job search.

Is market size something we can google?

No, unfortunately there is no one place to get that info but it is something we, as healthcare recruiters, provide our candidates and employers. Unemployment numbers only give you an average across all jobs and has nothing to do with your own specific industry. Also, one thing to consider is whether you are looking to advance in the next job? Looking for a higher management role or next the level staff role? If so, remember you are competing against other people who already have that experience. So in that case your resume should be a bit more robust than if you are looking for a lateral position. A big thing that I want everyone to remember is that you are literally selling yourself every single day you are at work. Always.

I dont think people think of their jobs as selling themselves.

No, that is for sure and it really sorts out the wheat from the chaff. I’ll dive much deeper into that topic another time. But the best way to move ahead in your career is to be recognized and promoted within your current job. That looks really great on a resume and for future higher level positions. It is a win-win for everyone. Employers can boast that they promote from within, they will save money on outside recruiters and it looks good for the employee as they have actually moved up in their company.

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