The 3rd edition of my best-selling Ladders Resume Guide is currently available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle versions. I’ve included a brief excerpt below; along with links to free templates and other resources.
This updated version is designed to make your resume writing go smoothly. In about 90 minutes, I provide the basics on how to create a professional two-page resume, share templates to help you do so quickly, and provide specific step-by-step advice on writing bullet points and a professional summary that will make you stand out.
Ladders Resume Guide is based on the millions of $100K+ to $500K professionals we’ve helped over the past 17-plus years, and the success of their millions of applications with our employers. I provide you with the tools, tactics, and tricks you need to transform your past experience into an effective resume. I review the right format for structuring your past jobs into a job history, and tackle the best wording and phrases for your past achievements.
Here’s that excerpt I promised you…
What is the right length for a resume?
The right length for a professional resume is two pages total if you have 10 or more years of experience. College graduates, those with less than 10 years experience, and individual contributors looking to stay individual contributors, should stick to one page only. Those in the top 1% of earners making $500,000 or more, and executives with 25 years or more of experience can consider three pages if the situation warrants.
Professional experience between 10 and 25 years
Your resume should be two pages total, composed of a professional summary, a reverse chronological detail of your professional success, an education section followed by awards and patents, and a brief personal section. You should begin with your contact information at the head of your resume.
Two pages is sufficient length to detail your background, successes, and past assignments. This length allows you to show the progression of your career over the decades, while providing enough detail on the past five years to give a very strong sense of your capabilities and accomplishments to the audience for your resume. If you are on a growth trajectory in your career, two pages is enough to indicate your expected next level without overdoing it.
Conversely, if you’ve been in the same role with the same title for 25 years, then it is appropriate to stick with the one-page length. If you’ve remained an insurance adjuster, or senior accountant, or sales representative, for a decade or more, it is best to stay at one page. Resume length is an important signal for your career expectations. If you desire to remain at an individual contributor level, you are doing yourself a disservice by sending an inaccurate signal to future employers with a two-page resume.
Again, here is our suggested format for the two-page resume, which we will go through in detail, along with links to our online free resources for templates, examples, and additional information:
The High-Score Resume format: How to write a resume for 2021