Many of us are confused by conflicting advice on how to write a resume. The most glaring disagreement is how long a resume should be. You met with a career coach and he or she tells you one thing. A recruiter tells you something else. The workforce center asks you to change it again. Before I suggest the number of pages that your resume should be, remember the most important rule of all: Your resume is an advertisement and the resume should effectively sell your skills, experience and abilities for that job.
In general, the length of your resume depends on your industry, education and experience level.
Academia (unlimited length, typically 5 pages or more): Let's get an easy one out of the way first: If you work in academia as a Professor or in another academically based field, your resume is known as a curriculum vitae (CV). The CV is as long as you have credentials to fill it including listings of papers published in scholarly journals. It is not uncommon for the CV to run five pages or more.
C-Suite Executive (3 pages): As a seasoned top-level executive, you will have a significant trail of accomplishment to showcase. Don't try to cram it all into two pages. Allow the document to breathe in three pages.
Experienced Technology Professional (2-3 pages): In technology, the employer wants to fully grasp all of your relevant technical skills and training. Don't skimp. Include this information within two or three pages. No one wants to go through more than three pages, even for a technology professional.
Experienced mid-level professional or post college degree holder (2 pages): A person who has been working for more than seven years or possess a masters degree often struggle to fit all the information onto one page. There is no reason to do this. Be sure to keep the content compelling on the first page so that the reader will want to move on to the second page.
Recent college graduate (1 page): As a recent college graduate, your most important experience should fit on one page. Employers don't want to have to read through more than one page for a recent college graduate.
College Student (1 full page): Some college students struggle with filling up a full page when writing a resume. Be sure to include part time and volunteer work as well as internships when creating a basic resume.
Remember again, the resume is a marketing piece that should effectively sell your skills, experience and abilities for the job. If you need slightly more/less space to do that, it is OK!