Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Should Your Resume Be Only One Page?

This is one of the oldest resume debates. Different experts have different ideas and recommendations. As the job search becomes more digital, this debate has become less of an issue. No matter the reigning opinion, the bottom line is that there is no hard and fast rule for the length of the resume.

Keep in mind that we live in a fast-paced society and employers already admit to only giving your resume 10 to 15 seconds of attention. Therefore you must be concise, brief, and only offer information that is relevant to the reader. How long your resume ends up is determined by what you have to say that is important to your potential employer. Not everyone can fit on one page. However, there are some guidelines when deciding on the length of the resume.

If you are on two pages, fill both pages entirely. A resume that is a page and half long looks as though the second page is a mistake or an afterthought. Often, this second page will be overlooked if that is the case. If you can’t fit everything on one page without crowding your margins or using font smaller than 10-point font, then consider going to a second page.

If your resume is on two pages, make sure you capture their attention on page one. People who use two-page resumes often put too much “fluff” into their resumes. The entire first page ends up being a summary and the work experience does not start until page two. If you don’t grab an employer’s attention right away with benefit statements and evidence of how you can help them, they may never even look at page 2.

Always put your name, contact information, and page numbers on subsequent pages. Just in case the second page gets misplaced, be sure your name AND contact information ends up on all the pages of your resume.

Make sure every item on the resume is relevant to the targeted employer. Read through every line of your resume and ask yourself if it all demonstrates a benefit that you can offer your potential employer. If something is on your resume because you are proud of it (i.e. winning first place in the company track meet last year) but does not add any value to your potential employer, it probably does not belong on the resume. Often, when a resume goes longer than 2 pages the writer is providing too much information or too many details.

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