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You are probably reading this article because you’re up late trying to finish off a perfect resume but it just won’t fit the one-page “limit.” You’ve tried adjusting the margins, making the text smaller and decreasing the spaces between sections but it just isn’t cutting it. You have a two page resume. You are probably asking yourself in a slightly panicked voice, “That’s gotta be OK, right?” The answer to that question is: It’s complicated. In some cases, having a second page on a resume is perfectly reasonable but sometimes you just have to cut it to the one-page max.
This article will help you determine when it’s OK to cross the one-page threshold and when it’s not. We’ll also give you some great tips on how to make your resume more concise, to help make it shorter.
Now that you’ve gotten the big picture about when a two-page resume is OK, keep reading for tips on how to best make a two-page resume.
When you Google this question, you will undoubtedly read a lot of conflicting answers. Some sites will say it’s perfectly fine to go over one page and others will say that having more than a single page will hurt your chances of landing the job.
So what is the truth? As noted above, the answer to this question is complicated and depends on many factors. The two main questions you should ask when trying to decide how long your resume can be is how long have you worked in the industry for and what industry do you work in.
Let’s break those questions down.
If you are freshly out of college or still in college, chances are you probably do not have many relevant job experiences related to your career. Maybe you have some internships under your belt, but they were likely shorter than a year or two in length or were summer experiences.
If this situation describes you, you should try and keep your resume to a single page. Compared to a job-seeker who’s been in the industry for 10+ years, you don’t have the same amount of experience.
If you are a job-seeker several years out of college at minimum, you probably have more than one or two major relevant job experiences to list in your resume. If this situation describes you, then you may be OK with having your resume be longer than a page.
The key here is the word relevant. When applying for a job, you want your resume to be as concise and relevant as possible. If you’ve been working in marketing positions for several years and are applying for a new marketing job, your resume shouldn’t be going over to a second page because you have jobs like working for Pizza Hut back in high school.
Unless the position is relevant to the current job you are applying for or it explains significant gaps in employment, you should probably avoid it if that’s what is making your resume go past a single page. On the other hand, if your resume is filled with a ton of relevant job experiences and you’re going past the first page, then that is probably OK.
The next question you have to answer is what industry you work in or are applying into. For some fields, a one-page resume is a must. Some applications will clearly state that they want a single-page resume and if they do, don’t go to the second page.
However, some fields of work will welcome a second page on a resume and may even ask for a CV versus a resume. Some examples of types of jobs that would be OK with a two-page resume are higher education, research, and federal jobs. If you are applying for a research position, chances are part of your qualifications for that job are research publications. Listing publications take up space, so a two-page resume should be OK in this case.
If you’ve thought about the two main questions posed above and have decided to keep the second page on your resume, you likely have more questions about what to do next.
You have spent all this time trying to make everything fit onto one page that the first page has a ton of material and the second page looks extremely bare.
If you only have one or two lines on the second page, try again to make it work with a single page. However, if you have half the page filled and the other half is blank space, what should you do?
The first step we would suggest is making your overall resume more readable before adding more content. Is your resume in an 8-point font? Increase the font size to something more reasonable to be easier on your recruiter’s eyes. Does everything seem to be mushed together on the first page? Space it out a little bit more.
Once you’ve made your resume more readable, you can decide whether or not to add more content to the second page. Don’t add more experiences just because you can. Again, resumes should be as concise and relevant as possible. If you have more relevant things to add to your resume, do it. But don’t go wild adding everything just because you have space.
Something that takes up a lot of space that might be useful on a second page is visuals. Most resumes are first read by a computer, so having text and keywords is critical, but if you have a lot of empty space on the second page, you could consider adding a visual like charts, graphs, and timelines that show your journey visually. Again, make it relevant.
Now that you know what’s acceptable and what’s not in terms of a two-page resume, it’s time for you to get back to yours. Try your best at limiting it to a single page, but if you have enough relevant job experiences that make it go to a second page, don’t panic.
Resumes are about being concise but are also about delivering the best quality of information you have. So if you have a ton of great, relevant and high-quality job experiences, keep them on your resume.
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