Should I Have a 1 or 2-Page Resume?

How many pages should my resume have? One or two?

How many pages should my resume have? One or two?

Whether a resume should be one page or two pages remains a hotly debated topic among hiring managers. But the appropriate length for a resume depends upon multiple factors, most of all the amount of experience you have.

Should My Resume be One or Two Pages?

The one-page resume used to be the standard in a time when documents were printed and not read on screen. These days, more users are viewing documents and emails on their devices, and the resume should be optimized for screen reading. While a two- and even three-page-plus resume was typically reserved for academic and STEM CVs, a two-pager is appropriate in many industries for many higher-level candidates at a certain experience level.

Determining whether your resume should be one or two pages largely comes down to how much information you have to work with, and the best format for presenting it. Follow these quick guidelines to determine the appropriate length for your resume:

Consider Your Level of Experience

I typically see job seekers hitting the two-page mark around 8-10 years into their careers. By this point, they’ve had multiple jobs, usually multiple employers, and are starting to add various accomplishments and accolades that take up additional space on the resume. While it’s possible to condense it down to one page, you may risk cutting out valuable information that is of interest to hiring managers.

In most cases, a junior and mid-level resume should be kept to one page. Including too much detail can actually detract from your message and draw the focus away from your professional experience. The biggest difference is that a junior or mid-level resume will likely include less experience than a more senior candidate, and less detail. Of course, there are always exceptions.

Optimize the Resume for Scanning

Cramming your resume onto one page will make it difficult to ready. An effective resume is one that your reader can scan through quickly while retaining key information. Additionally, it should follow a logical hierarchy so that it encourages your reader to move their eye in sequence from section to section. This means being thoughtful in your use of formatting elements such as bold, underling, italic, and capital letters.

The resume should easily read from top to bottom, starting with your summary or objective statement, and then through your professional experience, education, professional affiliations, and other sections. In what order you present the different sections of the resume should be based on relevancy, with the most valuable information in the top third of the page, working you way down. If your education is an important aspect of your qualifications for the job, it should go up top.

A typical format will follow:

  • Summary / Objective Statement

  • Professional Experience

  • Education & Training

  • Awards

  • Professional Affiliations

  • Skills

  • Additional Information

  • Omit Outdated Information

As you progress in your career, you may choose to omit information that is no longer relevant, or that doesn’t add value. For example, activities, clubs, and courses from college become less relevant as you gain more hands-on work experience. The same can be said about your GPA. I see many job seekers drop these activities around the 5-year mark, as they start to focus their resume more around professional accomplishments and less on academics.

If you’re unclear whether or not to omit something from the resume, ask yourself whether it adds direct value to the types of roles you’re targeting. If it’s not mentioned in job description, consider whether it serves as a talking point in an interview - such as an alumni organization, fraternity/sorority, or notable scholarship.

Hiring managers generally do not have a “preference” when it comes to one or two page resumes. The goal is create an impactful document that is easy to read, and that leaves your audience with a clear picture of the skills, experience, and qualifications that you bring to the table.

What Next?

Let us help you craft an impactful resume that is beautifully designed and appropriate for your level of experience. Contact us to get started.