How Long should my Technical Resume Be?

One of the most common misconceptions about resumes in general - and technical resumes in particular - is the question of length.

In a previous blog post, I discussed that in a strong technical resume, less is not (necessarily) more. It's certainly true that hiring authorities are VERY busy people - and you need your resume value proposition to be clear and direct.

But hiring authorities also need to recognize - and hire - qualified talent. If your resume demonstrates that you can solve the hiring authority's problem, he (or she) will be more than happy to read a bit further.

The One Page Resume Rule

You'll frequently find a variation of this advice on the net - including on some fine, authoritative sites.

"Make your resume short (one page, if possible, two pages at most)."

This is probably the single biggest resume misconception out there.

The "one page rule" developed in a different time - a time of extremely stable careers, when hiring was often based more on existing relationships than aggressive recruiting strategies, and when 10, 20, or 30 year tenures were the rule - not the exception.

But one page resumes - unless you're a recent graduate - just aren't effective in today's job market.

Technical Resumes Often Require 3 Full Pages

As a professional technical resume writer, my work is often somewhat longer - and more detailed - than my colleagues who specialize in sales, marketing, or other careers. There's a good reason for that.

Technical resumes, by their nature, require a depth of detail to provide critical context for your achievements. The hiring authority wants to know what you've accomplished - but also want's to know HOW you've delivered value. As this article from US News reports, "Condensing to one page signifies lack of experience, which could land their resume in the digital trash."

I'd go even further - if you need 3 pages to detail what you've accomplished, how you've made an impact, and the tools you've used - do it. I've written many 3-page technical resumes - that have helped my clients get interviews, and move into the opportunities they've sought. So I can say from experience that three pages won't put you out of the running - if you've got the accomplishments to merit the length.