As we all know, one of the first things you are taught by anyone who considers themselves a resume writing professional is that you want to keep the document down to no more than two pages. Well, the “guideline” has not changed. But the frequency of the penalty for not adhering to it has.

As a certified professional resume writer, we understand that the document has to be “as long as it is interesting and relevant”. There are times when a three-page resume is justified (in my experience, this has only been for senior level executives, certain IT candidates, and academic CVs). But the economy has spawned a different reviewing environment that has to be accounted for.

As a member of several recruiter and HR manager groups on LinkedIn, I get to see a lot of “chatter” about what their days have turned in to. With the vastly increased number of candidates in the unemployment pool, many have come right out and said “If I receive a resume three pages or longer, I simply throw it out because I don’t have the time to go through all of that”. Now, THAT is scary. But when you have hundreds of resumes to review, you want applicants to get to the point.

Now, sometimes going to a third page just cannot be helped. But I can tell you from 14 years of writing experience that when done right, this is highly rare. I would say that of the resumes I have written, less than 1% have had to go to a third page. There are just too many strategies one can use to better organize and prioritize the information to say what needs to be said quickly. Remember you only have 15 seconds or less to make your pitch.

So, if your resume is unnecessarily pushing out at 4 or 5 pages, please beware … “The trash can-a-cometh”.