As many of you probably know, hiring managers in today’s job market are swamped. Inundated with job descriptions, lists of open positions, and calls from job seekers, they no doubt appreciate brevity and clarity when reading resumes.

So why do many candidates include every job since college on their resumes–even when college graduation dates back to 1969?

From what I can gather, fear dominates the resume writing process for many people. They are afraid of giving too little information or leaving out some critical detail. However (and you know what is coming here), fear does not drive an effective resume. In fact, it can convince people to make the resume so long and so difficult to read, that it is effectively rendered useless.

The general resume rule of thumb is that two pages will suffice for most candidates. This includes job seekers with more than eight years of experience, all the way up to executives (in some cases). Entry-level candidates or those early in their careers should stick to one page.

Five-page resumes (and yes, I see plenty of these) only confuse the reader and incite dread among those who must read them. The relevant information should be on the first page, making the second page an “addendum” that continues to describe interesting and pertinent accomplishments.

Employers can and do hire based on concise documentation of qualifications. And hiring managers may well thank you for being brief!

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