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How long should your resume beTraditional thinking holds your resume should be no longer than one page, but have times changed? An executive resume service will typically urge you to keep it to no more than two pages. However, some will say three pages is appropriate in certain instances. The bottom line is there are exceptions to every rule, and although your resume should be well edited, the focus should be on content, not length.

Applicant Tracking Systems

One important factor to consider is the use of Applicant Tracking Systems to vet candidates. This system allows employers to read and scan resumes by search terms. The difference between a live person reading your resume and the Applicant Tracking System analyzing it is a human typically looks for accomplishments, while the tracking systems search for keywords. So what does this mean for you the applicant? Since it is a bit tricky to try to please the Applicant Tracking Systems, as well as the employer, the best approach is to focus on quality content.

Applying to a Specialized Field

Let’s say you are in a specialized field, such as medical or legal. You should consider using a professional curriculum vitae writer. They are pros at including all the details your field needs to cover, yet staying concise. They will work with you to highlight not just your education and past jobs, but achievements such as research and teaching experience, publications and grants and fellowships. They are experts at taking an overwhelming task and making it simple and effective.

Shifting Careers 

Another instance in which a two or three page resume would be appropriate is if you are changing careers altogether. The applicant will have to cover their qualifications and skills that would pertain to both their current job and the one they hope to transition to. In this case, it’s absolutely fine to have a length of two to three pages. Again, the focus here is on quality and pertinent content, instead of length.

Trimming the Fat

If you find you still would like to trim off a little more length, consider digging into your oldest employment information. If you have to cut something, this is most likely the least relevant and important to employers. Some things to avoid: shrinking your font to a size too small to read easily, using a photo and not checking for typos. These may seem obvious, but it can be easy to forget the basics when you’re in the throes of writing.

Writing resumes and cover letters is a daunting undertaking. An executive resume service can be an invaluable resource in creating your best resume. Take some of the stress off of yourself and let a professional help you get that call back.

This guest post is by Erin Kennedy, MCD, CMRW, CPRW, BS/HR, a Certified Professional & Executive Resume Writer/Career Consultant, and the President of Professional Resume Services, Inc.  She has achieved international recognition following nominations and wins of the prestigious T.O.R.I. (Toast of the Resume Industry) Award.   Find Erin at http://exclusive-executive-resumes.com.