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The Pros And Cons Of A Long Resume

The resume is a marketing tool that could determine your next career. The decision of the recruiter to bring you further along the process and invite you for the all- important interview hinges on the information contained in the resume.

Job applicants often find themselves in a quandary; should they opt for a short resume or a long resume? While a short one page resume is easier to make, it will not offer you the opportunities to differentiate your value proposition from the other candidates as a long resume would.

Pros of using a long resume

1. You Don’t Miss Out on the Important Details

“How much time will the hiring manager spend on my resume? Will he or she scan my resume in 6 seconds?”

The truth is you won’t ever know how much time the hiring manager spent on your resume. Despite the eye-tracking study conducted by TheLadders, hiring managers have their own nuances when it comes to reviewing resumes. You have no control over it, so don’t worry about it.

Focus on your biggest concern: How do I get the hiring manager interested in what I have to offer? The answer to that question lies in the content of your resume.

You cannot afford to take the risk and subject your details to a process of elimination. Just like a delicate operation, you might sever an artery that would bleed out your chances of landing the job of your dreams.

2. Provides Better Continuity for Your Story

A longer resume allows you to craft better content for each key section. You will have more opportunity to weave your story into the resume and create continuity. You can lead the hiring manager further along your story as he or she goes through your resume.

If you were successful in launching your story at the Header, it will be easy for the hiring manager to establish continuity simply by noting keywords at each section. Continuity of a compelling storyline could potentially distinguish you from the rest of the competition.

3. Improves Your Chances of Getting Hired

We mentioned in Chapter 1 that many hiring managers use tracking software in the recruitment process. These are called Applicant Tracking Systems or ATS which helps hiring managers track work- specific keywords.

In electronic formats, resume length is immaterial. The length of the resume will not be a factor for an ATS. It will rapidly track keywords if the resume is one page long or four pages long.

As a matter of fact, a longer resume will improve your chances of getting hired because you can pack in more experience and more relevant keywords.

Statistically, only 26% of hiring managers use ATS. Still this is an advantage that will put you ahead of the rest who prefer short form resumes. In a competitive job market, you will need every advantage you can get.

4. Wide Open Spaces Mean Better Structure

When you have extensive work experience and a long list of relevant accomplishments, having more than one page to work with gives you the benefit of space.

Not just space but wide open spaces that will make it easier to compose a well- structured resume with clear, concise and compelling content. You can expand its sections to include the following:

  • Community Involvement
  • Leadership Activities
  • Additional Education and Training
  • Professional Affiliations

These are pieces of information that are crucial in building your brand and supporting your value proposition.

As a rule, focus on the last 10 to 12 years of work experience. Remember the acronym CCAR when composing your work experience:

C – Context; Your title and scope of responsibilities.

C – Challenge; The problem presented by the organization for your resolution.

A – Action; The course or courses of action you implemented to resolve the challenge.

R – Result; The outcome of the course of action and how it impacted the performance of the organization.

This type of format will keep your work experience concise without foregoing the important details.

5. Better Readability and Organization

With a longer resume you will not be pressured to keep everything to a minimum. And this includes the particulars of the resume such as:

  • Line Spacing
  • Font Style
  • Font Size
  • Page Layout
  • Margins

To make your resume more readable, you can open up the spacing between lines and use good sized font such as 12 or 13 for Arial, Calibri or Times New Roman.

Hiring Managers do not want to strain their eyes scanning a resume that uses size 8 or 9 font, tight spacing and margins.

Cons of using a long resume

1. Recruiters Only Scan Resumes

With hundreds of resumes to go through every day, hiring managers will tend to scan only usable content in a resume. They will not go through your resume with a fine- toothed comb unless its content grabs their attention.

There is a possibility all of the content you put in your resume may not be read at all. This is especially true later in the day when the focus and energy of the hiring manager starts to wane.

2. More Info is Not Necessarily Better

When composing your resume, always keep in mind the relevance of the information you are sharing.

Even when you have more than 20 years experience as an executive, you should give serious thought on the details you want to highlight. There is such a thing as information overload.

Identifying the experiences you should emphasize is not an easy task. You may wish to consider the assistance of a professional resume writer on how to effectively phrase your experiences.

3. Risk of Overlooking Important Information

If you focused a great deal of your attention on work experience, it is possible other key sections such as Educational Attainment would be found after the second or third page.

Assuming the job requires a Master’s Degree in Business Administration, a long resume might make it difficult to find for some hiring managers if Educational Attainment is located on the last page of your resume.

A good way to look at your resume is that it is a “work in progress”; it details your history up to the most current period of your life.

Thus, recruiters do not expect a fresh graduate who has not even cashed- in his first paycheck to submit a multiple page resume. In the same manner, recruiters know an executive with more than 20 years of experience and varied list of accomplishments would be hard pressed to condense an entire history into a one page resume.

The length of your resume should never influence its content. Always keep in mind that content is the primary driver of your resume.