An important resume decision – one or two pages

Should your résumé be condensed to one page?  We’ve been hearing that advice for many years.  After all, the goal is to give a quick overview of your background, skills and education in a concise and relevant manner.  You want to choose the right words and graphic elements that express your work style and accomplishments while keeping the attention of your reader — in this case the résumé reviewer.

But don’t let the one-page rule influence you too much.  If you’re a new graduate or don’t have a varied work history, of course a one-page version will probably work fine for you.  But if you’ve had the chance to build a large skill set with relevant work experience and education, you don’t want to sell yourself short.  So don’t be afraid to  use the two-page format.  In the case of a top-level business executive, three pages may even fit the bill.

Sample of a one-page resume. Resume by Words Etc. Click on the image to enlarge.

Résumé experts agree that today the important thing is that you include all your skills and qualifications, using as many keywords as possible, even if it takes two pages.  It is likely that your résumé will be scanned for keywords, so the importance of including as many of them as possible cannot be stressed enough. And except in the case of a plain text résumé, which we’ll discuss in another post, you also want to keep white space, graphic design and formatting in mind, and this often means use of space that may result in two pages. Click on the link below to view a sample two-page resume.

Resume.2page.sample

White space should be used consistently through your résumé. A general rule is to use the same amount of white space between sections of the résumé and less space between the individual  items – for instance the lists of your duties and responsibilities.  See the sample two-page resume below.  The use of graphic lines also helps to define the sections of your résumé. These design elements create a document that is easy to scan quickly as the reviewer looks for the elements they want in their next employee.

Remember your résumé is your advertisement for you. Just like an ad in a magazine or newspaper, you’ve got  to grab your reader’s interest and keep it by making your “ad” easy to review and  highlight those keywords that will put you on the short list for interviews.The last thing you want is a  jumbled up document that is crowded and so hard to read or scan quickly that you end up in the dreaded “round file!” So don’t be afraid to expand to a two-page version for your résumé.

What challenges do you have in creating your resume?  Please share.  I’d love to hear from you!

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7 Comments

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7 responses to “An important resume decision – one or two pages

  1. That first sentence of that last paragraph is so important.

  2. I agree. If we don’t advertise ourselves, who will? Thanks for visiting!

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  5. In a recent professional organization meeting where I was a panelist, the host company, which was an employment agency, stated that they expect contract workers to have much longer resumes. Time in the workforce is also a factor the resume length. If the resume can be perceived as too short for the work history, I might infer that the jobseeker did not show much knowledge growth over the years (initiative? ambition? reception or drive for opportunities?).

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