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Is your resume too short?

Does resume length matter? Do you have a one-page resume because you once heard that's the right thing to do?
Resume black hole by Coach Caroleen

Most people are worried that their resume is too long. In fact, your resume may be too short.

When is the last time you printed out a hard copy of your resume and handed it to someone?  I remember the days of always keeping an extra special pack of “resume paper” on hand for printing.  But those days are long gone.

The internet makes it so easy to submit your resume in seconds with a few clicks of your mouse. On the flip side, companies are now flooded with hundreds or even thousands of applications for each job posting.  How can you get your resume to cut through the noise and get noticed?

More than 95 percent of Fortune 500 companies use an ATS to streamline the recruiting process and keep up with the thousands of applications received weekly, but plenty of smaller employers have embraced the tool too, according to data collected by Jobscan.

75% OF RESUMES ARE NEVER READ BY A HUMAN—HERE’S HOW TO MAKE SURE YOUR RESUME BEATS THE BOTS ON CNBC.COM

Ah, the good ol’ Applicant Tracking System (ATS).  I keep talking about it because it’s a BIG deal.  It’s the automated computer gatekeeper for your resume before it gets to a human recruiter or hiring manager.

I remember how frustrated I felt sending out countless resumes online and getting no responses. It’s just plain wrong how submitting your resume online feels like a black hole.

So what changed? How did I go from being the frustrated rejected job seeker to negotiating my way to a permanent job with benefits at a Fortune 500 bank?  

I threw away the one-page resume rule.  I wrote a longer resume that was better targeted and filled with keywords from the job description. In a world where brevity is revered, why would a longer resume be better?

The old one-page rule came from the days of printed resumes. The fear was that if you had more than one page, the reader was unlikely to “flip” the page. Now, very few resumes are ever printed and almost all resumes are screened by an ATS first.

Newsflash: The ATS scans the whole resume regardless of length. Once a human reviews your resume, the front page is still the most important but "scrolling" (not flipping!) to the second page is easy peasy on the computer.

There’s no magic number as to how many pages a resume should be.   Consider how long you’ve been working.  In writing a targeted resume, if you need more than one page to show the ATS and recruiter that you’ve got the right skills and experience for the job, then use the extra page(s)!

The ATS needs to see that you’re a match to the job description.  It also likes to see certain keywords and job titles repeated.  If your resume is too short, you may not pass the algorithm to get past the ATS.  It’s ok to have a longer resume especially if it helps you get past the ATS for the interview!

If you’ve been out working a while (7ish+ years), stop trying to cram everything on one page. Use decent sized font and leave space for when the human actually reads it. Refer back to my 5 quick resume makeover tips here.

Bottom line, to increase your chances of getting past the ATS and getting a human to invite you for the interview, make sure your resume is targeted and full of relevant keywords from the job description. And if it means it’s longer than a page, it’s a-ok!

PS. I’ve been out working a couple of decades and my resume is four pages long. I know some people poo poo that. My whole front page is a very targeted career summary for the job opening.  I want that recruiter to look at my resume and think BAM!  This gal is the perfect fit for this job!  Let’s interview her! 

You want a resume that elicits that type of response. I’ve found tremendous success with my 4-page resume getting past the ATS scanners and getting me the interview. It got me through four jobs in 18 months and another level up to my current IT Architect role.

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