Kevin from the University of Texas – El Paso asked:
Should a resume be one page long, or is it okay for it to be longer?
Dawn from DeVry University Online asked:
In writing my resume I have noticed that many are two pages long. If my resume is two pages long, should I print it double-sided on a single sheet of paper or single-sided on two sheets of paper?
Hi Kevin and Dawn –
“One page or two?” is a very popular question. In response, I have one hard rule (no exceptions!):
Your resume must not exceed one page (unless it needs to!)
Huh? Most people can and should stick to a one page resume, but a one-pager is not realistic or suitable for everyone in all circumstances. Context is very important in answering the “one page or two” question.
Here are a few guiding statements:
Most traditional-aged college students looking for an internship or entry-level employment should stick to a one-page resume.
Most mid-career professionals can and should stick to a one-page resume.
Academic professionals (professors and researchers)don’t prepare resumes to look for academic work. They will write a Curriculum Vitae that can range from 5-50 pages.
Some executives and other senior level professional have resumes that range from 2-4 pages (many are able to keep it brief and stick to a one page resume).
Your resume is a marketing document, not an informational document
Your resume is an executive summary of your relevant qualifications (education, experience, skills and characteristics) formatted in such a way that the reader can easily get to know you and what you offer and make an informed decision regarding whether or not they want to consider you for an interview.
Your resume is NOT an all-inclusive document that speaks to every aspect of your education, experience, skills and characteristics.
Let’s be honest. Not everything about you is relevant or important to employers making hiring decisions. Including irrelevant information on your resume makes it harder for employers to find the relevant information. Irrelevant stuff gets in the way.
Just because you want to say it, doesn’t mean employers want or need to hear it. Just because it is important to you, doesn’t mean it is important to them!
Before you put anything on your resume, ask yourself : “Why do employers need to know this about me?” and “How does this information make me a stronger candidate in the eyes of the employers I am targeting?”
If you can’t come up with good answers, employers won’t be able to either.
Look at yourself from the employer’s perspective before you start writing your resume.
Don’t let the format of your resume get in the way of the content
Really small fonts. Too many font styles. Too many font sizes. .25″ margins all the way around. Generic “one size fits all” resume templates.
All of these formatting tricks just get in the way of the content and make it harder for employers to get to know you through your resume.
For some good resume examples, check out my Resume Gallery, You will see that, when it comes to resumes, one-size-fits-all and formatting gimmicks are the wrong ways to go.
If you have a two-page resume, don’t print it double-sided
It may be the most earth-friendly approach, but printing a two-page resume double-sided on a single sheet of paper is a bad job search strategy.
These days, you will probably be submitting your resume as an email attachment (send it as a PDF, by they way!). In this case, how your resume gets printed will not be your issue. Don’t worry about it.
When you do need to present your resume in a hard-copy format, choose a good quality stationary paper (20 lb stock at least), make sure the watermark is right side up and forward facing, and print each page of your resume on its own sheet of paper.
When you print your resume, you control the appearance. Make the best impression possible on paper by going single-sided.