Rules of Resume Story Length: Perception or Reality?

I am acutely aware of the varying opinions on what constitutes a Branded and High-Impact executive resume. I also appreciate the recommendations by some of my colleagues, that an Exec Resume must be limited to absolute brevity at 2 pages.

I’m of the belief that an executive resume can be 2 or 3 pages (some, even upward to 4 pages!), as long as the first page creates almost a ‘standalone’ snap-off story (not reliant on pages 2-3). With a writer’s/journalist’s training, I understand the design and word-smith strategies to be both content driven and crisp. As long as the executive’s story is written in a glimpseable format with the takeaway highlights and value prop tightly knit and showcased throughout, then the length becomes less relevant.

Often, executive recruiters tell me they LOVE the stories that I tell on behalf of clients – and they crave such content — not to rule the candidate OUT, but to help rule them in [i.e., provide substance behind the results ($$##%%) and nuance behind the leadership strategy that compels them to want to meet that person.]

Posted by Jacqui Barrett-Poindexter, MRW

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3 Comments on “Rules of Resume Story Length: Perception or Reality?”

  1. Cindy Kraft Says:

    Seems like the length of a resume discussion has been around forever.

    I just read a post on the CFO Linked In group by a resume writer who said a resume should NEVER be more than one page – no ifs, ands, or buts about it. YIKES! How does an executive with 25+ years of experience ever hope to compete with that kind of restriction.

    With the Blackberry and Twitter driving messaging today, I do believe executive 2-page resumes are quite powerful. That said, I rarely create ONLY a resume for my finance executives. Instead, I add an addendum that highlights leadership initiatives fashioned in a way that allows them to attach 1 or more pages to the resume if they choose to do so and if it is appropriate to do so.

    You’re spot on too – it’s all about value. When value is clear and compelling, especially above the fold on the first page, length is secondary.

    • careertrend Says:

      Hi Cindy,
      Yep, an ongoing conversation for sure.

      I agree that 25+ years’ executive experience + a tight, 1-page resume restriction does not = an adequate opportunity to compete.

      As well, I respect the various ways to peel the apple when it comes to parsing out resume content; e.g., your advocacy of a powerful 2-page resume + at-the-ready addendum document makes good sense.

      Bottom line, we agree on the ‘value’ aspect – clear, compelling, above the fold on page 1 < this is where the initial grab should be, pulling through to the supportive, substantive stories.

      Thanks for stopping by, Cindy! Thoughtful comment.

      PS – By the way, I've quality tested one of my 3-page resumes on my 'new' Droid, and the glimpseable impact made even me smile 🙂

      Jacqui

  2. Cindy Kraft Says:

    Impressive about the Droid, Jacqui. Deb has been having battery issues with hers. Wonder if after a week of hard use you’ll see any difference. Have a fabulous time – the warm temps and sunny skies await you!


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