At one time, for some odd reason, there was a widespread belief that resumes must be one page long. Anything longer than that and your resume would be thrown in the trash immediately.
Thankfully you don’t hear of that any more (for the most part). People are now moving towards the opinion that the resume length in Singapore depends on the amount of space you need, in order to communicate your candidacy effectively. So there are no hard-and-fast rules and the ideal length for your resume depends on your specific situation.
But some general guidelines are still useful, to avoid a situation where you end-up with a 20 page resume (which I have seen!). From my experience, when it comes to the resume length in Singapore:
- For most people 1 to 4 pages is usually enough.
- Fresh graduates and entry level professionals will naturally have shorter resumes (typical resume length is 1-2 pages).
- Mid-career and senior professional will need more space (typical resume length 2-4 pages).
- In terms of space utilisation, it is useful to keep in mind how people read a resume. The first instinct is to quickly scan the resume and if it looks promising, then the person will want to see the details. So you need to make quick impact and provide enough information about yourself right at the start, to entice people to read further. One way to do this is by thinking of the first page as a resume in itself. Other than that, throughout your resume, you should make your key selling points stand-out and be visible at first glance.
- It is good to provide enough context/background/detail in your resume, so that the reader gets a good idea of what you did and how that matches the requirements of the job. Just writing a few lines to describe each job is not enough and keeps things too vague.
Many people find it hard to keep their resume length manageable. This is often because of:
- Not focussing enough on their job target: Every job requires a person to have a particular set of knowledge, skills and abilities (KSAs) in order to perform well. When writing your resume, you really need to make an effort to include content which displays these KSAs and remove/downplay other content. I know this can be hard, since you want to write down all great things you’ve done. However, keeping it relevant is very important and you don’t need to include each and every detail of your career history.
- Not being clear on the objective of a resume: Your resume is not supposed to get you the job. It is meant to get you an interview. So you don’t need to explain, clarify and add caveats for everything. You can talk about all of this during the interview and as you advance through the selection process. So constantly ask yourself – “Will including this information increase my chances of getting the interview call.”
I hope you found these tips for resume length in Singapore helpful.