How To Fit Your Resume On One Page In 5 Easy Steps

By Maddie Lloyd - Apr. 12, 2021
Articles In Resume Guide

Find a Job You Really Want In

Writing a resume is an art that can be difficult to master. You’re faced with the challenge of selling yourself to employers and showing that you’re the best person for the job, all while making sure that it isn’t a total nonsensical eyesore.

But here’s the kicker:

On top of the challenge of marketing yourself to a potential employer, you have to do so in a limited space. If you’ve ever found yourself wondering, “how long should my resume be?” Your most likely answer is one single page.

The goal here is to give yourself plenty of space on your resume, while still making it readable. Sound like enough of a challenge? Don’t panic! We’re here to help.

Keep reading to learn how to make your resume one page in five easy steps:

1Make the Most of Your Formatting

If you find yourself trying to cram a bunch of information into one page with a bunch of illegible sentences, consider changing your margins, line spacing, and font size instead.

The standard size for resume margins is 1 inch on all sides, but feel free to make them as small as ½ inch. If you go any smaller, your resume will look cramped and chaotic.

You can also adjust your font size line spacing to give yourself more room to tell employers about how awesome you are. Stick to using a single-spaced format, and make the body of your resume a 10 or 12-point font.

2Combine Sections Whenever Possible

Even though the body of your resume is going to be in a fairly small font, your section headers are likely going to be slightly bigger, so you don’t want to throw in a bunch of different sections all willy-nilly. How do we fix this? Just merge similar sections, and you’ll cut down on all those pesky headings.

Mandatory sections include:

The following sections are optional:

To shorten your optional sections, consider combining your relevant professional and volunteer history under your experience section. You can also lump all of your awards, achievements, or recognition under your work experience section rather than making a separate achievements section.

If you have any hobbies, hard skills, or anything that could make you stand out as an ideal candidate, consider including them under your skills section.

3Make Your Bullet Points Concise, but Compelling

Your bullet points are the meatiest part of your resume. This is where you’re going to talk about your experience, and it’s what employers are going to be paying the most attention to when they scan your resume, so you’ll want to make them count.

Try to make your bullet points fit into one line, and absolutely no more than two. Condense your sentences to the most basic description of your past accomplishments, and make sure to mirror keywords that were used in the job listing.

If you choose to use resume buzzwords, make sure to only use the ones that employers care about, such as those that are repeated often in the job description. There’s no sense wasting space with a bunch of meaningless words that everyone and their grandmother use to describe themselves.

Also, if you can, try to only list work and volunteer experiences that are relevant to the job you’re applying for. If you’re an entry-level candidate and you need to fill up some space on your resume, try to pick out the most relevant aspects of those unrelated jobs and emphasize them in your bullet points.

4Remove Fluff

By this, we simply mean that you should eliminate all flowery language, useless information, and outdated work or education experiences. It hurts, but it has to be done if you want to get the job.

First thing’s first — get rid of your resume objective statement, high school experience, and any mentions of “references available upon request.” Also, unless your employer specifically asks for it, ditch your GPA.

Now that you’re on a roll, it’s time to get rid of those boring soft skills. Instead, focus on highlighting the hard skills that make you more marketable and valuable as a candidate. If the job listing mentions specific skills needed for the position, make sure to mirror them on your resume.

5Merge Contact Information Into One Line

Instead of giving every aspect of your personal and contact information their own individual lines, combine them all into one line, underneath your name, and voilà! You’ve got yourself a resume header!

In your header, list your phone number, your professional email address, your social media or portfolio, and the city you live in. Your header should be a few font sizes bigger than the body of your resume, but not so much that it takes up the whole page.

For more information on how to write format a resume header, check out this article.

More Tips to Make Your Resume One Page

  1. Start with a master resume. Since each resume you send out should be tailored for the specific job, it’s a good idea to keep a “master resume” that includes all of the information that might possibly be relevant to a potential employer.

    This is your brainstorming document, and it can be as long as you like. Having this document will save you loads of time as you apply for different positions, as you’ll already have an inventory of potential items to include.

  2. Tailor your resume to the job. It’s not only good practice for landing more interviews — making your resume laser-focused on the position you’re applying for forces you to be choosy about what you include.

    For every item on your resume, ask yourself, “will this help the hiring manager make a decision about whether or not to hire me?

    If you’re not sure about the answer, consult the job description. Highlight action verbs in one color and adjectives and skills in another. Then, look for places where you can naturally and honestly incorporate those words.

    If you find some items on your resume don’t fit with the keywords you found, they’re likely good candidates for removal.

  3. Focus on accomplishments, not responsibilities. When you include your job title in your resume, that’s basically shorthand for all of your responsibilities.

    For the majority of positions, hiring managers understand the basic ins-and-outs — accountants balance the books, salespeople make sales, programmers make computer programs, etc.

    Don’t waste space by telling the recruiter things they already know. Instead, focus on the measurable impact you had on projects you were involved with or led. Use numbers whenever possible to make it easier for a reader to understand your results.

  4. Trim your education section. If you’re past your first job out of high school or college, then you really don’t need to provide much information on your education. A simple section that includes the school’s name and location, along with the name of your degree and graduation date, is really all you need.

    That being said, jobs in certain fields, like research and academia, require a more comprehensive education section.

  5. Stop after 10-15 years. Once you have more than a decade of experience to show, you can start removing some of the older content. Folks don’t really care about your entry-level job once you’re in a more senior-level position.

    Plus, adding employment dates from the 80s or even the 90s might invite some ageism. However, if you want to show off your rich and storied career, we recommend seriously condensing older entries. For example, one line could cover a host of entry-level jobs you had a company, like: “Microsoft 1994-2002 | Junior Data Analyst, Data Technician, Program Manager”.

Final Thoughts

Writing a compelling resume is hard work, and it just gets even more challenging when you’re forced to try to describe how awesome you are on one single page.

Your goal is to make the employer see that you’re the best person for the job within a limited amount of words and space, but with a little editing and adjustments to your formatting, you’re sure to outshine the competition.

Now it’s time to get out there and write a resume so compelling that you land an interview and get the job!

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Maddie Lloyd

Maddie Lloyd was a writer for the Zippia Advice blog focused on researching tips for interview, resume, and cover letter preparation. She's currently a graduate student at North Carolina State University's department of English concentrating in Film and Media Studies.

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