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March 2011
Resumés & Cover Letters... How Long?
by Susan Reynolds


First let's address resumé length and content. Perceptions abound: One page, two pages, ten page complete curricula vitaes. Hmmm. Your document should be typeset at a size that is comfortably legible to almost any reader. Your text should not be so blocked and lumped together that it is quite horrid to read. So if it takes two pages to tell your story effectively, then by all means go for two pages. But does it REALLY take two pages to tell your story effectively... with beautiful white space and type? The key word is "effectively". Hmmm.

Now to "cover" the cover letter issue. Please don't take up an entire sheet of paper repeating everything in your cover letter that you've already mentioned in your resumé! If your resumé is well-written, then your cover letter should briefly introduce special notes that are particular to each recipient, while managing the housekeeping of transmittal notes and salutations.

So how long is long enough? Long enough to catch your reader's attention and hold it. Long enough to impress them with your appropriate skills, capabilities, experience, and qualifications. Not so long that their eyes glaze over and they stop reading!


Susan Reynolds is a senior partner at NewMarket Careers in Santa Clarita, a job search, career strategy, and resume-writing firm geared toward managerial, executive, and senior level professional careers. She can be reached at or 661-755-3308.

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