The Myth of the One-Page Resume (Kinda-Sorta)

One of the most common questions I get asked when someone finds out I work in Human Resources is whether or not their resume really needs to be only one-page long. My answer? No, it doesn’t.

Why do people think this? Certain books suggest it. Some career counselors swear it’s the way it should be. The truth is, no self-respecting HR professional is going to look at a resume and say “Oh, this qualified candidate’s resume is two pages…they’re out!”

But there is a benefit to keeping your resume to one-page (or as few pages as possible)…the more concise you can be on your resume, the more likely the items you want to highlight will be read by the person reviewing it. Resume reviewers, in many cases, receive hundreds of resumes from job seekers; and to get through them all requires screening for key words and information that matches the requirements being sought. Only when the screener finds information of interest will they stop and read more. If they find nothing of interest on page one, they most likely won’t turn to page two. If all the good stuff is on page two, it may never be seen!

So, what’s important is not keeping your resume to one-page, but structuring your resume in such a way as to highlight the most relevant and important information about your qualifications and experiences by locating them as close to the top of the first page as possible. That’s why you’ll see many resumes begin with a “summary of qualifications” or a list of achievements. Just like a good book, if the beginning grabs the reader’s attention, they will keep reading further.

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About MikeSpinale
I'm a people and business partner, an employment brand ambassador, and a career advisor. I am an advocate of HR 2.0 - it's not about the personnel files - it's about bringing on the best talent, ensuring they're in the right seat, and keeping them motivated and growing in their careers. It's not about being the HR police - it's about giving managers the tools they need to effectively lead their teams to greater success. I love to travel, listening to NPR, political banter, social media, foreign languages, and the city of Boston.

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