How many words should your resume be?

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If your resume is already down to 2 pages you are off to a good start. You can tick the first box on Best Practice Resume Writing.

However, if you are still hanging on to a CV of four to six pages (or more, God forbid!), we need to take a step backwards before you can take two steps forward. And before I can address the subject in the header, how many words should a resume be.

Resume definition

The document that you use to present yourself to a recruiter or an employer is called a Resume – not a CV. Resume is a French word for “summary” and is used almost everywhere in the world for the two pages that describes your work experience, achievements, and educational background.

Only one purpose of a resume

The one and only purpose is short and sweet, full stop. And no, it’s not to get a job as you may think. Here it is:

To Get You an Interview

So, what is a CV?

CV is the abbreviation of Curriculum Vitae; it’s from the Latin language and translated to English it means Course of Life. A CV also includes details like work experience, achievements but in addition also awards, scholarships or grants you’ve earned, coursework, research projects and publications. A CV is typically used when applying for jobs in academia.

How many words should your resume be?

In their research, TalentWorks found that more than 600 words would lower the interview rates significantly.

To check how many words you have, open your resume in Words, go to Review and Word Count.

So instead of stuffing your resume with words and using font size 8-9 with small margins left and right, trust the new research, trust the resume writers and the headhunters. The key is to make your resume reader-friendly, appealing through a great lay-out, and perhaps most importantly make sure you have the right key words that the recruiter and employer will likely use to find somebody like you.

How many bullet points do you suggest?
  • In the Work Experience part of your resume, the total of bullet points should be between 15-20 bullet point.
  • Please note that I’m talking about the Work Experience part; do not count the bullets you have used under sections like Summary and Education.
  • Each bullet point should be with text for one or max two lines. Do not go on with long and wordy paragraphs.

Tom Sorensen

Tom Sorensen is an executive search veteran with over 25 years of experience recruiting in Asia, Europe, and Africa. He has worked in executive search in Thailand since 2003 and is recognized as one of the country’s top recruiters and most profiled headhunters.