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For the longest time, one-page resumes have been touted as the only acceptable resume length.
After all, hiring managers are busy people, and it’s important to make sure that you make an impression in a quick, digestible way in order to keep their attention for long.
But even with the knowledge that most hiring managers spend an average of six seconds reading a single resume, two-page resumes remain prevalent.
Pictured: A perfectly normal-sized resume, unlike whatever eight-page monstrosity you probably just turned in. I bet you’re already regretting it. You’re thinking about it right now. It was bad.
Are two-pagers ever acceptable? Are there situations where a two-page resume is perhaps even preferable?
Here are a few tips to help you get a better grasp on this job hunting conundrum.
There might be some readers out there — for whom two-page resumes (or even longer) are the norm — who are wondering why this article exists at all.
To those readers, we extend our congratulations — so far, you’ve been lucky enough to avoid lazy or harried interviewers who consistently receive far too many applications for them to read.
While everyone who applies for a given job position deserves a fair shot, the truth of the matter is that at the end of the day, interviewers are just people.
And people are flawed, stressed out, and — above all — usually in some kind of hurry.
“I have to read 348 resumes in the next 48 hours while also delivering all this corn to Google’s International Headquarters! And prom’s tomorrow!”
That’s why two-page resumes have historically been viewed as bad — for a hiring manager at a large company who might typically receive over a hundred applications for any given listing, reading every resume closely just isn’t feasible.
But that doesn’t mean that two-pagers are always a bad thing.
In fact, there are a lot of situations in which a second page might be preferable, even with the added time this might take to read.
Whether you’re currently writing your resume or editing an existing one, at some point you’re going to have to consider it’s length.
Cuts are going to need to happen — your entire life’s worth of relevant work experience just isn’t going to fit on a single sheet of paper, unless you’re applying for your very first job ever.
“Well your resume is all on one page, which is nice, but the size 0.01 font you’ve used is somewhat of a drawback.”
Here are some things to keep in mind when you’re deciding just how many cuts to make:
Pros & Cons of the One-Pager
Pros and Cons of the Two-Pager
The easiest way to think about it is that if everything can fit on just one page, then that’s absolutely the resume size you should be working with.
If it’s at all close to one page, you should see if you can cut it down. Because while it’s perfectly fine to use two pages when necessary, you want to be totally sure that it is, in fact, necessary.
Anything over two pages, though? If it’s not a CV, you might as well just throw it out.
Three pages or more is just an unreasonable length of resume to expect a hiring manager to read in most situations — but even with a two-pager, there are certain things that you have to keep in mind.
Some of the biggest things to keep in mind when using two-page resumes:
In a nutshell, keep the resume as short as it needs to be and you’ll never go wrong.
Unfortunately, that can be pretty subjective. What needs to be there and what doesn’t?
What skills of yours are of the utmost importance for you to get across, and what can you probably leave out?
“Some of my best attributes include how well organized I am as well as the fact that I’m always cosplaying as Father John Misty 100% of the time.”
The answer is that it’s situational — you’re going to have to do some research in your industry to see exactly what it is that people in that industry tend to look for in job applicants.
When in doubt, just make sure that however long your resume ends up being, that it doesn’t waste anybody’s time — least of all, your own.
Best of luck! Here are some other links to help you on your way:
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