One of the most debated questions among resume writers: should a resume be one page or two pages long? A two-page resume has the room to include all the information you need for a lot of work experience, but the one-page resume is so tailored and compact. Which one is best?
The truth is that your resume’s length should depend on a variety of factors. Moreover, your goal should always be to keep your resume as relevant as possible. The key is to know when to use a one-page resume, and when to rely on the two-page variety.
Should a resume be one page?
The answer to this seemingly simple question may not be as obvious as some imagine. Anyone who has ever sat down to write a resume understands that the process can quickly get out of hand.
For workers with any serious amount of experience, that resume seems to expand of its own accord. Add in your skills, education, and other details, and you soon find yourself fighting to limit it to two pages. As a result, it’s easy to assume that resumes should always be two-page documents.
Why? Well, the fact is that most employers must sift through dozens or even hundreds of resumes to fill a position. It’s only natural that they would prefer shorter, more focused resumes. Obviously, shorter resumes translate into an easier selection process for them.
Since your goal should be to give employers what they want to see, shorter is typically better. If possible, you should try to limit your resume to a single page. At the same time, however, it’s important to remember that quality matters more than quantity. In fact, there are many times when a one-page resume simply cannot meet your needs.
Also, remember that most companies today use an ATS (Applicant Tracking System) to automatically screen your resume. These systems automatically screen your resume to see if you’re a good match for the position. An average of 75% of candidates are rejected by ATS and many times the candidate is qualified but the resume isn’t optimized.
Make sure that you use a standard resume format so that the ATS could easily read the resume. You should also include keywords (hard skills) that are relevant to the position. Sometimes, to include all the keywords your resume needs, you will need to use a two-page resume format.
Benefits of a one-page resume
A one-page resume offers many benefits, despite its limited length. For example:
- Properly done, a one-page resume offers a concise, focused showcase of your qualifications
- One-page resumes are more accessible, and offer greater clarity
- A one-page resume can stand out in a crowd littered with longer, less-focused resumes
There can, however, be drawbacks to using a one-page resume. Obviously, any job that calls for a great deal of experience is likely going to require a two-page resume. Of course, if you’re a seasoned employee, your relevant experiences probably won’t fit on one page. That’s especially true for candidates seeking managerial posts or other leadership positions.
Tips for keeping your resume as short as possible
In many instances, resumes end up being longer than they need to be. Unfortunately, an unnecessarily long resume can cause the reader to lose interest. The good news is that most resumes can be shortened with a little practice. The following tips can help you to reduce the length of your resume and make it clearer and more concise.
- Focus only on relevant experience, skills, and achievements. Resist the urge to include everything you’ve ever done.
- Use bullet points. Most hiring managers skim resumes in only a few seconds. Bullet points offer an easier way for them to digest key details.
- Shorten your education section with just a few bullet points. The only exception is if you are just entering the workforce.
- Limit your resume summary to no more than 4 to 6 lines of text.
- Job descriptions are less important than measurable achievements at a job.
- Skip the references, interests, volunteer work, hobbies, and other information.
- Adjust font size and margins, within reason.
Of course, if you find that the job description requires you to include more information than you can fit on one page, then don’t try to square that circle.
While shorter resumes are preferred, you should always feel free to use a two-page resume whenever it’s more appropriate. Read more about our advice on what you need to include on your resume here.
One-page resume example:
A one-page resume is a good place to start for most job seekers. If your resume goes over one page, double-check it for relevancy. You can use two pages if you can fill it with worthwhile information, but your resume should never be more than two pages.
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