Myth #2 – Your Resume Must Be One Page
In order for a resume to be effective it must be one page. Wrong! This is probably one of greatest job search myths there is. If you’re a new grad or a nascent professional you will be able to create a compelling one page resume without a problem. But if you’ve been a professional for 10 years or more it would be impossible to communicate your value proposition and key accomplishments while capturing the essence of your experience to date on one page.
I still run into professionals who are convinced their resume needs to be one page because that’s what they heard was best. It is not the best strategy to employ if you want to accelerate your career.
Sum up your experience into as few words as possible.
One of the goals in resume writing is brevity. But brevity means expressing much in a few words. A one page resume is not necessarily one in which the writer has successfully employed the use of brevity.
Go Ahead. Use a Second Page.
If you can’t fit all of the critical data on one page, use part or all of a second page. There! I gave you permission to use a second page. Does that make you breathe a sigh of relief? What this does not mean is elaborating and throwing brevity out the window. Just because you have more space does not give you license to expound and fill the resume with details that could be shared during an interview. You want to adhere to the adage “less is more” even when using the second page of your resume.
Adhering to the one page resume format can lead to a crowded resume where critical information is overlooked. Overcrowding can also overwhelm the eye of reader making them less inclined to want to read what looks like a page out of “War and Peace.”
Content is King. Formatting and Spacing is Its Aesthetically Appealing Queen.
Content is king when writing a resume but formatting and spacing is nearly as important. You will want to make sure you guide the reader’s eye to the most important information by employing stylistic changes throughout, i.e. bold, italics, various font sizes, etc. These stylistic effects can take up room but they engage the reader’s eye. That is okay. Additionally, good use of white space in resume design makes the resume easier to read and use of dramatic elements draws attention to key information.
Make sure you leave reasonable space at the margins and the top and bottom of each page so the reader can write notes. Your reader will appreciate it.
A resume can be up to two pages long but should never be three pages long! Overseas the standard can be different, i.e. in some instances it is acceptable to have a resume longer than two pages. Because we live in a global economy this is becoming rarer as companies in other countries are adapting to the concise, two page resume format. An exception to this rule is if you are writing an academic CV or a federal resume.
Liberating yourself from the one page resume format will allow you to more effectively showcase your achievements and clearly communicate how your experience qualifies you. Keep it tight, lean and focused with plenty of white space and you will increase your chances of getting the reader to give your resume more than the standard six second scan.
A note to the new graduate:
More than likely you will have a one page resume. That is expected and acceptable. However if you’re a high achiever who has had numerous internships and worked in positions throughout your college career that qualify you for the position(s) you’re applying for, it may be necessary to have a resume that is a page and a third or a page and a half. That is okay as long as the information is compelling and the space is not wasted. Again adhering to the “less is more” principle will help you create an impactful resume.
To your success,