How important is the length of your resume?

It is critical that you put all the information on one page. Anything beyond the first page will never be read.

Why does this happen?

Recruiters in tech receive hundreds of applications for each job opening. They usually have 15-20 open positions at a time. That’s a ton of text to read.

So they don’t read resumes, they scan them.

And they make their decision before they get to the second page.

What are the takeaways?

  • Your resume should be easy to scan
  • It should be short.

Both are important.

Some write in small print, with no margins and no spaces between lines. This won’t work because it’s not easy to scan.

How to make it short

Remove anything that’s eating up space

The skills list, the summary section.


Prioritize what is:

  • Fresh
  • Relevant
  • Impactful

Fresh means that your recent experience is more valuable than older experience.

Relevant means that your experience should be relevant to the job you are applying for.

Impactful means it had the greatest impact on the business or your expertise.

If you have a long career, the last 2-3 jobs or the last 5 years is the time span that recruiters tend to look at first. Prioritize this fresh experience over previous jobs.

* * *

Higher level candidates often have more than one area of expertise. Help the recruiter see the one they are looking for.

For example, a Python developer had two jobs:

  1. A data science role focused on predictive modeling and data visualization
  2. A backend developer role focused on API Development and database optimization

When applying for a Data Science or Machine Learning position, the first one is more relevant. It should be described in more detail.

Another example. A data scientist has the following accomplishments:

  • Developed and deployed a recommendation system using collaborative filtering, increasing user engagement by 20%.
  • Implemented anomaly detection algorithms to identify fraudulent activities, reducing false positives by 25%.
  • Designed and implemented a time series forecasting model, improving accuracy by 30% compared to existing methods.

The first two accomplishments are more impactful. They brought value to the business. They increased user engagement and found more fraud.

When applying for a Trust and Safety team position, the second one is more relevant.

* * *

The above is also true for education.

  • A relevant course is important at the time you complete it. Once you have gained hands-on experience, prioritize experience over theory.

  • Your degree is important when you are fresh out of university. After a year or two, prioritize your work experience over education and put it first. After 10 years, your experience matters much more than your degree.

  • Your degree has more impact than your high school diploma. Your degree becomes less relevant when you decide to switch your career path.

Remove or condense

Go through the parts. Start with the lowest-priority one. Either remove it completely or condense it.

Examples of how to condense:

  • You have a long list of accomplishments at one job Pick 2-3 most prominent ones.

  • You had many jobs Aim for 2-3 bullet points for recent jobs and 1 bullet point for older jobs

    If you have many older jobs or they are less relevant, you can merge them into one: “Data Analyst roles at fintech company X and others”

  • You got some experience, and you are not a fresh grad anymore It’s time to cut the Education section. You can safely remove GPA, relevant coursework, and honors at this point.

So now you get the idea. When your story doesn’t fit on one page, kill what’s older, less relevant, or least impactful than everything else. Repeat until you’re within one page.

Fear to omit important information

You don’t want to tell your entire journey on one page.

You may have a fear that you don’t tell the whole story, the recruiter won’t choose your resume.

There’s no reason for that.

During resume screening, the recruiter needs to answer one question. Does the person behind the resume have the prospect to be a good hire?

They don’t expect to learn all the details about your career path from your resume. That’s what interviews are for.

Show the most interesting parts of your career. Don’t be afraid to leave some intrigue.