As is true in many areas of life, people have different opinions about the ideal length for a resume. In one camp, there are those who argue that a one-page resume should always be the goal. In another camp, you have those who argue for a two page resume. Thankfully, no one really advocates for anything longer than that. But what do the experts say? Do hiring managers have a preference? In this post, we’ll examine resume length and try to give some insight into how hiring managers feel about the two page resume format.
Let’s clear the air and get this question out of the way: there is nothing wrong with having a two page resume – when two pages are needed to tell your story, that is. The fact is that it all comes down to relevancy. Hiring managers may prefer a one-page resume, but most are not dogmatic on the issue. As long as the resume contains only relevant information needed for the hiring decision, two pages are fine.
The question is: what makes information relevant? Well, let’s look at all the ways people often overload their resumes with non-essential information:
The bottom line is simple and obvious: quality is what matters. Remember, the average hiring manager will decide within the first few seconds whether your resume deserves a more in-depth read. If you’ve cluttered it with irrelevant details, you’ll only increase the odds that it gets ignored. Omit everything that doesn’t contribute to your qualifications or help portray you as the best candidate for the job.
Ideally, you should begin your resume with an outline that includes a summary to introduce yourself, a list of skills, job experience, and education. For anyone with more than 10 years of relevant experience and identifiable skills, a two page resume is usually standard. After all, you don’t just list your jobs and skills. You need to describe them in terms that detail the value you provided for prior employers. Remember, the goal is to ensure that the hiring manager sees that value as a potential benefit for his or her company.
On the other hand, if you suddenly realize that your limited experience doesn’t justify two pages, then feel free to limit yourself to one. Hiring managers won’t appreciate fluff, so it’s better to have one page than two pages of nothingness.
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 time 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.
If you have real experience, useful skills, and the educational requirements needed for the job, plan on a two page resume. Just be sure that you focus on relevant details and quantify everything that you can. What does that mean? Well, if you led a team that increased sales for your company, say so. Briefly describe your leadership and put a real number on its value.
Created and led sales team that improved sales revenue by 21% over three quarters, while increasing profits by 11%.
The goal is to demonstrate that you bring real value to any job you undertake. The hiring manager who sees that value-added proposition can’t help but imagine the benefits you could provide for his company. So, be sure to include details about your leadership abilities, and other relevant skills that demonstrate real value.
Finally, it’s important to start your two page resume off on the right foot. That initial introduction is everything. Let’s face it: most employers won’t want to sift through two pages of text just to see if you meet their basic requirements for employment. You can make it easier for them by opening your resume with a concise but informative summary. That summary will showcase your qualifications and skills in a value-added way. That way, the hiring manager can understand within your seconds that your resume is worth the read.