A common dilemma I hear from applicants at various stages in their careers; “Should I keep my resume to just one page?” The question itself is surprising, but someone who is new at sending out resumes when applying for positions simply wouldn’t know the answer unless an advisor at school shared some insight on the subject. For those who have worked less years than they can count fingers on one hand, my answer of “Yes, keep it on one page!” might not seem like common sense, especially if they have not been properly guided.
In the resume review world of hiring, we have all seen our share of resumes with unusually large fonts and wide spacing to compensate for a recent college grads lack of experience composed with the obvious hope to fill up space. In these cases, anything longer than one page reveals this attempt and could annoy recruiters. I am sympathetic to those competing for jobs among a very large surplus of entry level candidates, but I do say it isn’t worth the effort of blowing up a resume as its not effective. Unless you are an extreme over achiever or a child prodigy, chances are any work experience or academic activity will not warrant such space. You are better off with one page of good quality and honest content.
On the flip side, candidates who are mid to senior level in their career should not struggle to keep their resume to one page. When a colleague recently sought my advice on this very subject, he was concerned that he’s been at same company since graduating college well over a decade ago. Another recruiter told him that since he had been employed at the same place, the resume should be on one page. Poor advice, in my opinion. The fact that he held several titles in the company due to promotions as well as having numerous and different responsibilities for each must have escaped whoever suggested this to him. His two pages of experience, even at the same company, showed immense professional growth and varied responsibilities that indicated his versatility of skills and capability.
The bottom line is once you get to a certain level in your career and find yourself applying for positions via resume submittal, think of it as a limited opportunity to market yourself. If your experience requires more than one page, take pride in your qualifications and use the space you need in order to present yourself in the best possible way. Don’t sell yourself short by shortening your resume (excuse the pun) to the point where you are omitting valuable experience that could be the very bullet someone is looking for. It is about the content more than anything. A good recruiter or hirer will know what to look for when matching your experience to what they need. I’ve never heard of a recruiter discarding a candidate because of a two-page resume.
As for entry level candidates, I am all for putting everything you have done on your resume, but a second page of fluff reads the same as a first page of fluff. Better off shrinking your font size and limiting the “hobbies” section to one line. It’s a more honest representation. Job hunting can be stressful and many feel and are stunted by the insecurities that go along with it. Remain confident, honest, and committed when conducting your search and you will land the right position for you!