Aug 15, 2006

How long should a resume be?

Guy Kawasaki thinks it should never be more than 1 page long.

Gretchen thinks that's not true.

I think that if you can pull it off then you should stick to 2 pages, at least in India. However the majority of mid management CVs that I have seen were well into their 3rd and 4th pages. (heh, even I was guilty on that count 3 years into my post MBA career!)

Remember that very often a hiring manager who himself/herself has made a 5 page resume might not be very impressed with a one page resume. Sure, it's first impressions, and it's unfair, but so is life ;-)

So keep the important stuff in the resume. If you are applying from India to the US then as Priya says, don't put hobbies, single/married status/age/date of birth on your resume. Please, please don't add a picture of you looking uncomfortable in a formal dress. You may not be as great looking as your mother would have you believe ;-))

Keep the following stuff and cut everything, and I mean everything else out !

1. Your achievements in your past roles. Take this thumb rule. For every 3-4 years choose one (and I mean ONE!) greatest achievement. Don't (I repeat, don't!) put your job descriptions in the resume.

2. List your educational institutes, and your grades/CGPA/percentage. Don't add stuff that seems irrelevant.

3. Unless it's your first job, don't take up more than 3 lines to list positions of authority held in social communities or educational institutions.

Now tell me, is it more than 2 pages?

And if your response is that the resume doesn't reflect your true self and all your achievements, keep in mind that it's first and foremost a marketing document. Its job is to get you the call for the interview. You will have the opportunity in the interview to show off your true self :-))

Oh another thing, keep the decorations like shading, text boxes, tables on a resume to the bare minimum. Not all resumes get read on your word processor. Copy paste your resume on the notepad application to get an idea of how it could seem to your prospective employer !

All the best !

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  1. The only issue I have here is that the CV becomes historical...I look for talents that can be used in the future. A person has a personal brand to sell...sell that brand by listing talents, leave past for achievements. What do you think?

  2. its a good idea to be articulate. I have CV's where 15 yrs are expressed in 5 sentences !