How Many Pages Should a Resume Be? Guide + Tips

Written by Coursera Staff • Updated on

Your resume is your professional calling card. Learn what length your resume should be and how to keep it focused and impactful.

[Featured image] A woman in a pale yellow sweater sits at a table and looks over a two-page resume. There's a plant on the table in front of her.

Most resumes should be between one and two pages long. However, some can be three pages or more. How long should your resume be? In this article, you will find the best resume length for your needs. 

Beginning with an overview of the best resume sizes for different types of job and internship applicants, this article also includes key tips for keeping your resume a manageable size. By the end, you’ll clearly understand the ideal resume length for your unique situation and how to get there. 

Resume length: How many pages you really need 

The length of your resume will depend on your work experience and the industry in which you work. To figure out the best approach for you, review the list below of resume lengths for some common scenarios. 

One-page resumes 

The most common length for many resumes is one full page. 

This length is especially well-suited for anyone with one to ten years of relevant work experience, current students, or recent college graduates. Career switchers might consider using a single-page resume, even if they have over a decade of work experience if some of their previous experience is irrelevant to the job. 

Nonetheless, one-page resumes remain a standard length that will fit many use cases, particularly for early-career professionals.

Two-page resumes 

In the past, most resumes were expected to be only one page. Today, some professionals argue that two-page resumes are preferable, particularly because they allow job seekers to include more keywords that automated systems might recognize in their resumes. When in doubt, though, err on the side of the more focused and shorter resume.

Two-page resumes are becoming increasingly common, particularly as electronic resumes replace paper ones. Now, hiring managers can quickly scroll through resumes digitally rather than thumb through a physical stack of them on their desks, making a two-page resume less daunting. 

Two-page resumes are good for those with enough experience to fill both pages. As a result, two-page resumes are best suited to mid-career professionals with 10 to 15 years of relevant experience applying to leadership positions within an organization. 

Three-page (or more) resumes

You should almost refrain from submitting a three-page resume unless you meet a specific set of criteria or the industry in which you work specifically asks for resumes of this length. 

Three-page or longer resumes are typically reserved for researchers, who often have lengthy resumes or CVs due to long lists of citations for published work. Mid- to late-stage professionals with 15+ years of experience applying to senior-level positions may also find that a three-page resume is required to adequately highlight their work experience and accomplishments. 

Still not sure? Here’s a  good rule of thumb: 

There is no one-size-fits-all resume length. While some might find that they can fit all their professional experience into one page, others might find that they can only make their resume work with two pages. 

When in doubt, remember this easy rule of thumb: the ideal resume length is as short as possible while also including all your relevant accomplishments, skills, and experience. Try to keep your resume short without losing value.


Resume length tips

You may find it difficult to keep your resume short without compromising prior work experience. Use these tips to edit, refine, and focus your resume so it has the greatest impact. 

1. Use only 3-5 bullet points. 

One of the key places that resumes can bloat is in the work experience section. You should limit your bullet points to three to five for each work experience item. You’ll keep your resume focused only on the experiences that matter to the job you are applying for. 

Consider consolidating some if you have too many bullet points under each job title. This is a particularly effective strategy when the bullet points overlap. 

To do this, read through your resume and look for related bullet points currently separated. Then, combine them. 

For example:

I worked on several projects at Coursera, where I managed a team of five and helped increase the company’s overall revenue by 130 per cent.Spearheaded four projects; managed five employees; increased revenue by 130%.

2. Focus on achievements rather than duties.

Another way to reduce the size of your resume’s work experience section is to emphasize your concrete achievements rather than simply listing every duty you performed in a previous position. In addition to cutting out unnecessary descriptions of potentially irrelevant tasks, this technique also allows you to highlight your impact at your previous place of employment. 

To do this, read through your resume and identify the duties listed without describing a greater outcome. While it may be obvious to you what the purpose of a task was, it likely won’t be to a busy hiring manager who is simply scanning your resume. Be as explicit and concrete as possible with your achievements.   

The example below illustrates this principle in action:

I worked on several projects at Coursera, where I managed a team of five and helped increase the company’s overall revenue by 130 per cent.Spearheaded four projects; managed five employees; increased revenue by 130%.

3. Use active language (and be concise).

You want your resume to be a focused representation of what you have accomplished and what you can bring to your next place of employment. As a result, use active, action-oriented language that succinctly describes what you did and accomplished rather than spelling out entire sentences that make scanning difficult. 

To make your writing more action-oriented and concise, remove any unnecessary words that take attention away from the actions you performed and the outcomes you achieved. For instance, consider the two examples below: 

I worked on several projects at Coursera, where I managed a team of five and helped increase the company’s overall revenue by 130 per cent.Spearheaded four projects; managed five employees; increased revenue by 130%.

4. Only include relevant experience.

When applying to certain jobs, you will likely find that not all of your experience is equally relevant to the position. Consider excluding work that doesn’t seem particularly relevant to the job you are applying for.  

For example, if you are applying for a senior-level position at a company, you can safely leave out the work you did while an undergraduate in college. Similarly, if you are a career switcher,  you might leave out some of the work that you have done previously that doesn’t relate to your new position. 

You might consider keeping the work in if taking it out will create significant gaps in your employment history that might make employers believe you were out of work for a long time. Use discretion when following this tip. It is wise to always tailor your resume to whatever job you are applying for, ensuring that you only include the most relevant work experience. 

5. Include keywords. 

Today, many employers filter and rank resumes using applicant tracking systems (ATS) that scan them for relevant keywords. Typically, these systems use the job description to identify relevant keywords and search resumes to rank them according to keyword matches.

As a result, you should tailor your resume to mirror the language used in the job description whenever you have experience or skills that match it. That said, don’t lie on your resume about work experience you don’t have or stuff your resume with too many unnecessary keywords. Some systems might discard resumes that do so. 

Some of the best places to include keywords or key phrases on your job application are in your cover letter and the summary, skills, and work experience sections of your resume. 

Submitting a polished resume is the first step to starting your new career. As you prepare for your next job search, you might consider taking a flexible online course on how to write a resume. In just five hours, you will craft an essential cornerstone of the modern-day job or internship search through a project-oriented course that leaves you with an eye-catching resume that lets your professional strengths shine.

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