Ask Sarah: One or Two-Page Resume?
Do you prefer a one-page or two-page resume?
As a confused job seeker, I don't know how long my resume should be! Every person I ask gives me a different justification for each page length. Some same two-page resumes are exclusively for people with 10+ years of experience, others believe one-page resumes are for entry-level positions and recent grads.
I want to hear your perspective to help settle the score!
Thanks for your help! 🙏
You are getting mixed responses because the answer is not the same for every industry or role. The length of the resume is determined by the industry you’re targeting, and at times, your experience.
Industry or Company Standards
Almost all industries will accept a one-page resume, so in a way, it is the safest bet. However, industries such as the federal government, consulting, faculty positions in higher education all recommend more than one page and have specific guidelines.
If in doubt, research and ask! Many companies have a separate career website dedicated to their job board, team structure, and more information about working for the company. The first step is to research the company's application process on their website. For example, check out #Google.
What do you think Google's preference is? One page or two?
What Google says about your resume
"This is the first piece of information we’ll see about you, so highlight your achievements. Here’s how to frame them:
Align your skills and experience with the job description.
Be specific about projects you’ve worked on or managed. What was the outcome? How did you measure success?
If you've had a leadership role, tell us about it. How big was the team? What was the scope of your work?
If you're a recent university graduate or have limited work experience, include school-related projects or coursework that demonstrate relevant skills and knowledge.
Keep it short: If there’s additional information (like a portfolio) we need during the hiring process, your recruiter will work with you to collect it."
Answer: Keep it short! I'd say that is a pretty good indicator that Google prefers one-page resumes that are packed with accomplishments, outcomes, and measured success!
If you cannot find their requirements, try reaching out to the HR contact information or a general. Just to double down on my own advice, I reached out to my contact that is Technical Recruiter at Google, his response -
"Typically two pages to ensure people have enough space to fit everything but if you don't need the extra space, one page."
So there we have it - another "it depends"! In addition to looking at the industry or company standards, you can also base your decision on the amount of experience you have.
Balancing Experience and Space
As my contact at Google pointed out, a big factor in a resume is spacing. It can be appropriate to have a two-page resume if you have a graduate degree or over 10 years of experience. However, if you do submit a two-page resume make sure you leverage the valuable real estate of the second page make using the full two pages. If you are stuck at a page and a half, I recommend shorting it to a page.
Even for those with high levels of education and experience, the goal of the resume is to illustrate how you are the best fit for that particular role. Any experience that does not directly apply to the job (or transfer), takes away the reader's attention from the experience that is relevant to that particular job. On average, the first time your resume is seen by a hiring manager, you have about six to seven seconds before the resume is placed in the yes, no, or maybe pile. Don't miss out by making it too hard for the reader to see why you are the best fit!
Not sure what to include and what to remove? Again, Google's advice is spot on (anyone surprised?) Look at the job description. The job description is a call to the world, saying we are looking for someone with these qualifications, skill sets, and experience. Your resume is a direct response to that specific job description replying with the most relevant qualifications, skill sets, and experience. If you choose to remove a position(s), I suggest changing the heading of your work experience section. For example, instead of using the heading ‘Professional Experience’ change it to ‘Selected Experience’ or ‘Relevant Experience’. This will inform the reader that the experience listed below is a sample of the experience you have chosen to highlight.
Research the industry and company standards for resumes.
If you can't find a standard, ask!
If you have two-pages, make it a full two page.
The one-page or two-page debate seems to continue to live on.
Send your questions and comments to me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and if we plan to publish your question, you will be notified. All submissions are anonymous.
Looking forward to reading your stories and answering your questions!