Does Résumé Length Really Matter?

How Long is Too Long?

Whether you're an experienced RN or just entering the field, résumé writing can be an incredibly confusing, tedious and down right annoying task. It can be difficult to summarize your education, experience and skills into a short document, and in such a way that represents all you have to offer a future employer. A common question among new résumé writers is "How long should my résumé be"? Let's tackle this question together...

One Page Rule... is a myth.

Get this idea out of your head from now! I think this myth started as a way to keep résumé writers concise, which I think is a good thing. However, this one page rule has résumé writers using size 6 font and 0.1 inch margins in order to fit pertinent information and "follow the rule." This will have your résumé thrown in the 'No' pile before they even read your name- no recruiter wants to pull out a magnifying glass to read that!

It was hard for me to get this idea out of my head myself but when I graduated from nursing school (a second degree BSN program), I had a two page résumé that was easy to read, concise, and is available for free download here (well the template I used at least ;-).

Now I know I said we can have more than one page- that does not mean your résumé should be a dissertation. It should still be a concise, quick read that represents your experience in the best way. Below are some tips to achieve this:

  • Remember, your résumé should be easy to skim. Bullet points are your friend and each bullet should not be longer than 2-3 lines.

  • You want the résumé reader to be able to get through your entire résumé in 2-4 minutes. You read that right, 2-4 minutes. If it takes longer than that, I guarantee the reader has already lost interest and has moved on.

  • Keeping the bullet point above in mind, put the most important information at the beginning of your résumé. As a new grad, your education and most relevant clinical or job experience should be close to the top of the first page. As an experienced RN, your most recent position should be up top.

  • Prioritize. Prioritize. PRIORITIZE! The more education and job experience you have, the more this becomes important. Your summer job as a camp counselor may need to be omitted to make room for your amazing externship in the emergency room. Reach out to us if you need help with this!

  • For formatting, nothing smaller than size 10 font anywhere on the document and margins should be no smaller than 0.5 inches. Use bold font, underlining, font size and font color to help draw attention to certain areas you want recruiters to see.

  • A good rule of thumb to use to keep your résumé length in check is one page per degree after high school. So 2 bachelors degrees? Try to limit to two pages. Two bachelors and a masters? Try to limit to 3. I have three yet my current resume is still 2 pages. This "rule" just serves as a guide to help you keep yourself concise. Of course, it will not apply to everyone.

  • Get rid of the objective. I have a personal vendetta against objectives. Te objective of submitting any résumé is to secure a position- no need to wast space on that. Omit the objective section and instead, submit a cover letter with your résumé. Stay tuned for a more in-depth blog post about cover letters and why I love them.

The goal here is to create a résumé that is not only impressive in its content, but an easy read that highlights your awesomeness. Remember to get the one page rule out of your mind but keep your résumé short and informative. Using these tips, the free templates and the ReNegade Résumé one on one services, you'll be sure to create a résumé you'll be proud to submit and recruiters will be happy to read!

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