Resumes: when to graduate to a two-page resume

Resumes: when to graduate to a two-page resume was originally published on College Recruiter.

Just about all of us who’ve been to college were told then to have a one-page resume.

Some have believed this so fervently that 10, 20, even 30 years later, they will cut excellent content from their resume to get it all to fit on one page. This is damaging to your job search efforts because it cuts out the very evidence of success that employers are interested in!

I once had a client who initially made his type size only 6 points tall so he could fit it all on one page! You’d need a magnifying glass to read the printed version of it. We fixed that by going to two pages. And I’ve had many others who have teeny tiny margins so they can fit it all on one page, creating a jammed look. Again, that’s when you know you have to go to two pages.

When you think about it, the whole concept of “pages” is really antiquated, because hiring managers today scroll through a resume on the screen to see it all, largely ignoring “pages”.

Yes, formatting is important from a keyword AND human readability perspective. But don’t sacrifice content for page numbers. So make it long enough to cover the subject: you.

Will you see in the job search press an interview with a recruiter who insists on one page resumes? Yes. But most recruiters don’t care about length IF the resume tells your story. Once you’ve had even only 5 years in a career job, you just won’t have room for your accomplishments to all fit on one page. So give yourself space. Here’s some guidance:

New grad

About HALF of my clients who are brand new graduates, need 1.5-2.0 pages. This is because they have had several internships or career-related jobs or volunteering gigs that have enabled them to have several success stories and achievements. No one stops to say “Hey, this is more than one page!” Instead, the reader is engaged as they read the resume, seeing how much this student has done in 3-4-5 years. Two pages for all this, is a must, even for new grads.

Early career

You’re in your first or second “career” job and have several successes to point to. (Remember, this isn’t bragging: showing evidence that you’re a fit for an open job is helping the potential employer see how you can help them.) And it just won’t fit on one page, no matter how you format or what you cut. Congrats: You’re ready to graduate to two pages! Now we don’t mean a jammed-with-words two pages, but one-plus page that’s easy to read and shows proof you’re ready for your next career step.

Mid career and beyond

By now, you should have been using two pages for years. Content is critical: how have you managed or led, with samples of success relevant to each employer, should be in almost every line of your resume.

Format to follow

There are countless formats and styles, but I favor the simple, straightforward one that follows like this, over the two pages. Give it a try.

Name and contact info (put in the document, not in the header/footer; email, phone, LinkedIn address)
Title (what are you? Get as close as possible to the title they are using)
Summary (this introduces you and positions you, shows reasons for your success, mentions skills)
Experience (your job history, with accomplishments that focus on how you’ve saved or made money, and/or saved or made time, and/or solved problems)
Education (brand-new grads CAN put this first, at the top of page 1, but it quickly goes to the bottom of page 2 as your career unfolds)
Professional/Community (if you are a member of a career-oriented professional association, or have
done volunteer work that’s related to your career, list it here though using LinkedIn for this is preferred)

Joanne Meehl is a CAREER and JOB SEARCH Strategist. The Resume Queen® – 𝑨 𝒍𝒖𝒄𝒌𝒚 𝒄𝒐𝒎𝒑𝒂𝒏𝒚 𝒊𝒔 𝒍𝒐𝒐𝒌𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝒇𝒐𝒓 𝒚𝒐𝒖! Helping new grads (and older folk) land your next, BEST role, faster. A real coach/partner who gets you to focus, see your value, communicate who you ARE so that you get that choice #job. Former hiring manager, college career center director.

By College Recruiter
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