What’s Up with the One Page Resume Rule?

There’s a bit of conventional wisdom out there about how long a resume should be.  Many career advisers, resume writing books and websites, and even some blogs suggest that people should keep their resume to one single page.  Job seekers shrink their font sizes, decrease their margins, and use other tricks to try and force their resume to meet this rule. In my humble, yet professional, opinion – it is okay to have a two or three page resume.  It’s what you do with that resume that really counts.

Picture graciously borrowed from talknerdy2me.org

 

There is a real benefit to a one-page resume.  You see, when we post a job opening, chances are we will get dozens and dozens of resumes – big companies in metro areas may get hundreds and hundreds!  This leaves those of us screening resumes very little time to invest in deeply reading each applicant’s resume. When we screen resumes, we do what comes natural – start at the top and work our way down.  Now, if we get half way through page one and find nothing of interest – we’ll probably stop looking at that particular resume and will move on to the next one.  The more concise your resume is, the more likely the aspects of your resume that you want to stand out will.

So, is it okay to have a two or three page resume?  Yes, but make sure on page one, and early on page one for that matter, you highlight the most pertinent information for the job for which you are applying.  One way to do this is to include a “summary of qualifications” or a “summary of achievements” as one of the first sections of your resume.  If all the good stuff is buried on page two, I can assure you it will never get read if there is nothing to excite the person reviewing your resume on page one.

 

This post originally appeared on the Personal Branding Blog (www.personalbrandingblog.com)

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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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