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Its not all about the page count.
One of the most important things to consider when crafting your resume is the success of your document. The goal of a resume is to create a point of difference for yourself, compared to other applicants and therefore, the page count should be a secondary consideration. Quality over quantity is always encouraged and therefore, ensuring that the most important information is still included, is pivotal to the success of your submission.
How long a resume should be remains a dilemma to most applicants and this generally comes from not knowing which standards to follow when filing and submitting a job application.
Perhaps you have heard of the general rule of having a one-page resume. Time and again, this practice has proven to be ineffective as it generally leaves human resource professionals and recruiters trying to clarify certain aspects of your resume, especially if you left out significant information on your previous roles, such as your responsibilities and key achievements.
The subjective nature of resume writing is due to varying practices and preferences unique to different companies and organisations. Some hiring managers may want comprehensive resumes, whereas some HR professionals want concise, “highlights only” formats. There are also differences between the length of resumes in the public and private sector. Within Australia, each state government has their own preferred format also. Moreover, resume length may also vary depending on the industry. Understandably, because of these varied standards, people are left confused and even intimidated by the idea of writing a powerful resume.
Here are some things to consider when deciding on resume length and level of detail:
FOLLOW BEST PRACTICE. Despite the differences in standards and preferences in resume writing, one key to success is to be guided by best practice; primarily by looking at the “least common denominator” of a good number of employers. It is important to bear in mind that although there isn’t a singular correct way to write a resume, these best practices are an average expectations of the guidelines that most HR professionals set out when they post jobs and request applications from interested jobseekers. Overall, Australian Best Practice is between 2-5 pages.
DECIDE ON AN IDEAL LENGTH. More information is in demand these days, such as one’s trainings and certifications, software skills or technological tools used, areas of expertise and skill, and character or behavioural traits. However, for certain professions such as the medical field (where applicants could have a significant number of placements, specialisations, fellowships, and professional developments or training) and academics (professors and researchers may want to include a list of select published documents, papers, books, and journal articles), a page count of 5 or more may be required. Some companies, luckily, specify the page count in their job postings, so watch out for these key instructions.
MANAGE AND EDIT YOUR CONTENT. It is essential to outline your achievements and highlight your duties and responsibilities from each role in order to support your claims to your skills and competencies. Managing your resume content entails selecting which information is relevant, and presenting it in a clear and logical manner that demonstrates your career progression. Moreover, apart from what goes on the resume, key to editing information in your document is deciding what not to include. More professional resume writers and hiring executives recommend excluding things that could subject you to inherent bias and hiring discrimination, such as age and birthday, marital status, and most especially, a headshot or a photo. We also follow a 15-year rule when listing your employment history, unless your prior work directly relates to the role you are seeking.
ATS COMPATIBILITY. To sort through the volume of applications generated from online platforms, companies nowadays use an Applicant Tracking Software (ATS) of some sort. There are hundreds of these used to track and process applications, some of which may be unique to the individual organisation or jobseeking website. An estimated 95% of companies employ their own internal ATS, which can be programmed to rank online job applications based on their suitability and match to the job posting. It takes professional experience with ATS to be able to create a document that presents the right format, information, content, and overall look in order to maximise the opportunity to be included in the shortlist. As a rule of thumb, to beat the ATS, your resume must be of an acceptable length, must be free of grammatical errors and follow a simple, clutter-free format. Creative, stylish and innovative resume formats that have a lot of white space may not be the best for ATS. Instead, opt for clean and impactful designs with simple fonts and layouts. Adapting to ATS technology is the way of the future.
KEYWORD RICHNESS. ATS rely on a set of pre-programmed keywords and the density of these keywords in your resume text is your ticket to the shortlist. Due to the nature of ATS programs and tools, short and truncated resumes with barely any information are not optimised to pass the scanners. A professional resume from Canberra Resume, may look “too wordy” and dense, however our formats and templates have been proven to fuel the success of our applicants. We have worked with thousands of clients, a good number of them returning clients who want a fresh update to transition into higher positions, and we can assure you we have done our due diligence in seeking out the most rewarding keywords that can help bolster your application towards getting that coveted call.
Resume writing is all about presenting the best version of yourself to your prospective employer. Unless there is a page or word count specified the job notice, aim for a more detailed and comprehensive resume, not only to optimise for ATS scanners, but to leverage this as an opportunity to market yourself to prospective employers.
Therefore, it is essential to take advantage of very important real estate on your resume to create a great first impression at the outset. Even before you meet the employer and tell them more about yourself and your skills in a comprehensive and personal manner, it is important to impress despite the limited space you are given to outline and package your professional profile.
At Canberra Resume, we take our cue from experts in the field of human resources and recruitment, ensuring we give you a point of difference and help you stand out against other applicants.
Having written thousands of resumes Nation wide, we are confident that the focal point of your documents should always be the quality of the information, giving you a competitive edge, rather then the page count itself.
For more information or a personalised quote, kindly email or call us today!
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