A Resume Longer than War and Peace

When I get an extremely long resume, I check the word count.  After upgrading to Word 2007 last year, it’s easy.  The word count is displayed at all times on the bottom left of the window.  Up to now, resumes with 2500 to 3000 words have been the longest I have seen.  I have received a number of resumes at this length, but nothing over 3,000 words.  Today, a job seeker set a new record…

4,480 words

Most people read at 200-250 words per minute – so it would take 20 minutes to read through this resume, and that’s not even reading closely.  The resume is from an IT candidate and written with a lot of technical terms and descriptions throughout – not something that is easy to read quickly. 

There is so much detail in the resume, it is almost impossible to tell what the strengths of the candidate are.  The candidate has a PhD, two masters degrees, a bachelor’s and a two pages of continuing education classes.  Despite this, the only IT training was a six month IT program the job seeker did not complete.  All of the other education is in other fields.

Every aspect of the resume is extremely long.  The objective section is 155 words and lists eighteen separate job titles and thirty different technologies.  Most of these are listed with only acronyms. 

At least two thirds of the resume is completely unrelated to the IT field.  It includes detailed descriptions of finance positions from the early ‘70s, medical positions from the late ‘70s and consulting roles in the ‘80s.  This experience only serves to make the resume more confusing.  The candidate has been in the IT field for nine years, but this is only a small percentage of the resume.


First, check the word count on your resume.  Work to make the content more concise and eliminate extraneous details. 

Second, make sure your strengths are clearly displayed.  This resume lists so many different technologies, in long paragraphs, that everything runs together.  Focusing on a few key strengths will improve the impression the resume makes.

Third, include accomplishments prominently within the resume.  The first accomplishment listed on this resume was at the bottom of the fourth page.  It is likely most hiring manager will stop reading long before this.