Does a resume have to be one page long?

Many job hunters are told that their experience needs to be fit onto a single page. But is that true?

(Fortune) -- Dear Annie: I've been a manager in the training and development field for almost 30 years and, without bragging, I can honestly say that I've tackled many complex challenges and produced exceptional results. Now I'm looking for a new job, since my company recently merged with a competitor and there isn't really room for two people in my current position.

Here's my problem: I've been dealing with a recruiter who insists I have to fit my resume onto one page. I'm trying, but find that I have to leave out a lot. What do you (and your readers) think about this one-page rule? -Stymied

Dear Stymied: It's a bit puzzling that an executive recruiter would insist on a single-page resume for someone with nearly three decades of management experience.

Here's why: Global staffing firm Accountemps ( periodically surveys hiring managers at the 1,000 biggest companies in the U.S. Ten years ago, about a quarter (28%) said one page was the ideal length for an executive resume. A minority to start with, that group dwindled even further in the most recent survey, with only 7% still seeking single-page resumes. Indeed, 61% now prefer to get two-page resumes from candidates for management jobs, and almost one-third (31%) said three pages would be fine.

Even among non-management hires, longer resumes seem to be more in vogue these days: In the 1997 survey, 25% of hiring managers said they'd accept two-page resumes from applicants for staff jobs, a percentage that jumped to 44% in the latest poll.

"Many employers now are willing to spend a little more time reviewing application materials" than in past years, says Accountemps chairman Max Messmer.

Taking a few extra minutes to read a longer resume helps hiring managers get a clearer picture of who you are and how you're likely to fit into their organization.

Don't go overboard. "Employers still want to see that applicants can prioritize information and be concise," Messmer notes. But do defy that headhunter and craft a resume that conveys all you've achieved. You'll probably be glad you did.

How long should an ideal resume be? And how long is yours? Post your thoughts on the Ask Annie blog.

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