So you’re sitting at your computer, updating your resume in Microsoft Word or Google Docs, and you watch as it spills onto a second page. You start to get a little nervous. And the thoughts set in: I can’t have a two-page resume, can I? But all this information is important! What if I make my font just a little smaller? Or maybe this margin can shrink a bit. AHK! What do I do?!
In a recent article from The Muse, it was mentioned that in the digital age, a one-page resume isn’t a hard and fast rule anymore. It’s subjective, and largely based on one thing: relevance. Is the content you are presenting truly relevant to the job you are applying for?
If the answer is “yes,” then leave it there. If the answer is “no,” then consider tailoring this version of your resume a bit based on the job you’re applying for. You may have heard this before, but it’s a good idea to have multiple versions of your resume. You should always make sure that specific keywords and responsibilities in the job description (that truly match your experience, of course) are in your resume.
Some think they can get away with three or four pages, simply because two-page resumes are more widely accepted. This is not the case. CVs (short for Curriculum Vitae) typically extend into the 3+ page range, but resumes and CVs are not synonymous. Keep your resume to two pages at most, again keeping in mind that you should tailor each version to the job you are applying for. If you find that you’re going into the third page, carefully read through your resume and make hefty cuts.
What is looked upon as far worse than a two-page resume is one that was forcefully crammed into one page – by way of narrow margins and size 8 font. It looks cluttered, unprofessional, and illegible. With the average time spent looking at a resume clocking in at 6.25 seconds, I can confidently claim that no recruiter will zoom in to read it.
There are, of course, those that still fall under the hard and fast “one page” rule. If you’re fresh into the early years of your career, you shouldn’t have you resume spill onto a second page. Having a two-page resume when you’ve only held a couple of truly relevant jobs/internships signals to recruiters and hiring managers that you’re self-important or a poor editor. Save all of those “extras” for places like LinkedIn, where a robust profile with diverse highlights is expected.
The Muse article I mentioned earlier ends on a very pertinent point that applies (to all but career newbies, anyway. Sorry!), and rather than reinvent the wheel, I thought it valuable to emphasize and end on that point, too:
“In the digital application world, size doesn’t really matter. As long as you tell a compelling story about your employment history that’s easy on the eyes, your page breaks will be forgiven.”