Should My Resume Be 1 or 2 Pages?

Both the initial discovery of the resume writing process and the resume draft review prove to be times to ask lots of questions. One of the biggest questions I get is, “How long should my resume be?” Honestly, the simplest answer to this question is, “as long as it needs to be, but not too long”, but that doesn’t answer your question, does it? Continue reading for an expert opinion from an actual resume writer…

Should My Resume Be 1 Page or 2 Pages
If your resume takes up fives pages, it’s far too long…

If you’re an entry-level employee or a manager-level employee, chances are your resume will probably fit on a single page. For clients with an extensive work history, you’re probably looking at a two-page resume (this does not include the cover letter). I generally advise clients that two pages is the maximum length of a resume, but the exceptions to this rule are few and far between.

Most importantly, you should never have a five or six-page resume! I find that the tendency to create exceptionally long and superfluous resumes correlates to occupations where the attention to detail is needed to perform the job ( Information Technology / Accounting). If you have a five-page resume, your PowerPoint presentation is probably jammed full of bullet points – neither is ideal. 

The nice part about working with a client who provides me with a five or six-page resume is that I have an enormous amount of insight into their day-to-day system through various jobs spanning many years. That’s a huge help when I am rebuilding a resume.

Conversely, when a client sends me a single-page resume with a few bullet points, it actually makes my job more challenging. There’s an art to eliciting the right kind of feedback from clients regarding their employment history and their day-to-day responsibilities; that art becomes an intense struggle when presented with minimal resume content.

In cases where a client provides very little information to work with, I often, for lack of a better word, extrapolate and provide clients with ideas that kick off mental light bulbs. It never ceases to surprise me how often a client reads ten bullet-points that I pulled out of thin air, pulls out a red pen, and starts writing down the ideas. This back-and-forth collaboration between client and resume writer makes the resume review process effective, efficient, and even fun!

Without further ado, here’s some insight into what should be on the first and second pages of your resume. Again, if you’re an entry-level person, two pages is probably pushing it. Keep it concise and to the point. Nobody wants to read 50 bullet points, unless they each relate to the position to which you are applying for.

Your Resume’s First Page

The first page of your resume should always include your most recent employment history. Employers generally focus in on, “what have they been up to lately?”, as a way of culling their stack of resumes. Thankfully, most clients have their most relevant experience upfront. If you’re including a “Summary of Qualifications” and/or objective, this should be here too. I’m not sure why you would want to include an objective in your resume, but, if you do, it goes here (to each is own). Cover letters are a fantastic place to include objectives…

If you’re currently enrolled in college on a full-time basis, it may be relevant to include this on the first page as well as on your cover letter. Part-time student employment is nearly always less impressive than your enrollment in a mechanical engineering program. Try to use the first page of your resume to highlight your best points.

Your Resume’s Second Page

The second page of your resume (should you require it) generally consists of your past employment history, keyword rich skills, and your formal education. Something to note here is that you don’t necessarily need to add every job that you have held throughout your career on your resume. A skimmed down selection would be ideal; I don’t think a law firm would be interested in knowing about your summer gig at Burger King.

Because clients often work at a number of positions throughout a long career, adding each and every position to their resume creates what I call a “resume sprawl.” Using your LinkedIn profile to list additional jobs can also help you cut your resume down to the essential information. Let me repeat that – Your LinkedIn profile is a great place to add past positions that you held during the Reagan administration.

That really about wraps it up. If you’re interested in learning more about resume writing services, drop me a line by email at [email protected] You can also follow us on twitter by using the @interviewmetoo handle.

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