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How long is a resume supposed to be? Is there a limit to the number of pages?

Advisor

Erik Schlacter New York, NY

I work with hundreds of Veterans on a daily basis and this question always comes up... Any feedback is much appreciated!

10 December 2018 5 replies Resumes & Cover Letters

Answers

Advisor

Robert Jurasek Hollywood, FL

Dear Erik,

Federal résumés are very different than their civilian counterparts. In the past, Federal resumes were often in the range of 7-8 pages long; now, 3-5 pages is considered optimal.

Federal job applications also include a section for Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities (KSAs). The KSAs for a management position might be labeled: Ability to Achieve Results; Ability to Lead People; Skill in Building Relationships; and Ability to Lead Change. Each KSA is described in further detail, on the application.

At the end of each KSA is a blank space for the applicant to give examples that justify their level of experience. There are 10,000 characters allowed for each KSA. Ideally, an applicant would answer the KSA by indicating they are a subject matter expert (SME) then provide examples to support their answer.

And while the content of the résumé is very important and should be tailored to a specific job announcement, it also is important that the information be presented in the correct format of a Federal résumé. USAJOBS has a résumé builder and résumé tips that you can find at https://www.usajobs.gov/Help/how-to/account/documents/resume/build/

Additionally, The Resume Place (www.resume-place.com) has free résumé and KSA (Accomplishment) builders that might help you. On their website, click on Resources then select Free Builders, Federal Resume Samples, or Accomplishment Samples.

Many thanks for the work you do—assisting Veterans on a daily basis!

Sincerely,
Bob Jurasek

Advisor

Suzanna Molino Sparks Glencoe, MD

One if possible! Keep brief, quick read. Two pages is max, yet I wouldn't recommend it. Not every single thing has to be listed. Pick and choose if it is too lengthy.

Advisor

Scott Gagnon Winthrop, MA

2 pages - Max.

Advisor

Andrew Klarman New York, NY

Hi Erik,

Thanks for asking this question! I found an article that you might find helpful:

https://www.cleverism.com/one-page-resume-vs-two-page-resume/

The main argument the author is trying to make is that HR spends around six seconds (!!!) looking at any one resume. Therefore, a more succinct resume is best. The author says their general rule of thumb is one page for every 10 years of job experience, but I'd argue that it's more beneficial to tailor your resume to each job you're applying to and make a one-pager that highlights your skills relevant to the position.

Hope that's helpful! Feel free to PM me if I can help further.

Advisor

William Smith Suffern, NY

Hi Eric,

Length depends on level of meaningfully experience needed to be communicated. In most cases should not go over 2 pages. Statistics show that hiring managers only spend under 30 seconds on each resume. THat is why a summery section at the beginning outlining key skill sets related to the job in question is critical.
Hope this helps

Bill Smith

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