The short answer to the question, “Should a resume be one-page?” is, YES. The longer answer is usually. Occasionally, a two page resume is acceptable if you have a long professional history. However, if you only have a few years of experience, stick to a one page resume.
Now, you might be thinking, “But I have so much experience! There’s no way it can all fit on one page!” You’re probably right about that. BUT, there are five ways to reduce your amount of content while boosting your resume’s overall effectiveness.
Recruiters spend an average of six seconds skimming through a resume. If you’ve uploaded a document that’s five-pages long and text heavy, chances are that recruiters are spending even less time looking at your application. So, how do you slim down your resume?
- Use experience from the last 10-15 years.
- Don’t include unrelated jobs.
- Choose a format with columns.
- Swap out paragraphs for bullet points.
- List your achievements rather than your duties.
Use Experience from the Last 10-15 Years
If you’ve been working for more than 15 years, your resume probably lists every professional job you’ve ever held. There’s a common misconception that this shows a stable work history and emphasizes your years of experience. A resume should be like the trailer for a movie – grabbing attention and giving you a general idea, but not sharing the whole story.
If you simply can’t fit your last 15 years of experience on a single page, it’s okay to send out a two-page resume, but if your professional work history spans less than 10 years, stick to one-page.
Don’t Include Unrelated Jobs
This goes hand in hand with including experience from the last 15 years. Unless you’ve been laser-focused throughout your career, you’ve probably taken a job or two that doesn’t directly relate to your current goals. Leave positions off your resume if they aren’t applicable to the jobs you’re presently applying for.
If you’re worried about gaps in your history, include a blurb at the top of your resume that will help recruiters understand. Try something like: “I’ve tailored my resume to showcase my experience that’s relevant to the (Job Title) position with your company. I’d be happy to discuss my full professional background in an interview.”
Choose a Format with Columns
There are a TON of free resume templates on the internet. When choosing one, opt for something simple that has columns, which allows you to include twice the information on a single page.
Pro Tip: If your resume is spilling over onto a second page by one or two lines, try widening your margins a bit or choosing a 10-12 pt. font.
Swap Out Paragraphs for Bullet Points
Death to paragraphs! Okay, that’s a little dramatic… But paragraphs have no place on a resume. You want to grab a recruiter’s attention quickly and make it easy for them to see that you’re the right person for the job. If your resume is visually overwhelming, there’s a good chance they’ll move on to the next application.
By switching to bullet points, you’re making sure only important information is included. Aim for a minimum of three bullets per position held.
List Your Achievements Rather Than Your Duties
If your job title is one whose duties would be easily understood, (Marketing Coordinator, Customer Service Rep., Accountant, etc.) list your achievements rather than your daily tasks.
Instead of including a bullet point that says you were responsible for ‘managing and maintaining the organization’s website,’ list tangible achievements. (Ex: Increased website page views by 45% in one month.) Highlighting your achievements shows recruiters that you’re a high-performer.
Perfecting your resume takes time, but is well worth the effort! Help recruiters see that you’re the right person for the job by providing them with a resume that’s short and easy to read. While you’re here, be sure to check out our tips on how to make your resume stand out.