Should my resume be only one page?


I’ve heard from many people who think that their resume should only be one page long . Here are (roughly) the things that some of those people have said:

- My cousin Joe, who’s a recruiter, said that resumes should 
only be 1 page long.

- I read a book that said my resume should only be 1 
page long.

- Human resources people go through thousands of resumes - so i 
should make my resume fit on one page to give them 
less trouble.

Blah, blah, blah….and the list goes on…

But, the point is, that your resume does not need to be only one page long. And, in fact, in some cases it simply must be longer than one page.

Think of your resume as a marketing tool

The point of a resume is to get you an interview with a company, right? And, if you’ve done some great work in your career then you definitely want it to show on your resume. Do not cut back your description of your experience just to fit everything on one page.

Think of it this way: if you were interviewing people for a job in which you were personally paying someone $65,000 a year of your own money, wouldn’t you want to know what they’ve worked on in the past? Of course – especially if the work that they did in the past is relevant to what you need them to work on as well.

Even though putting everything on one page is a myth of modern day job hunting, you also want to be careful not to write too much stuff on your resume. Definitely highlight any major contributions to the business that your work may have had, and technologies that you know well. Don’t make your resume a huge list of all the technologies that you’ve ever touched – keep it limited to your core skills. Too many people make the mistake of listing technologies that they may have dealt with for a day or two – it’s better instead to just list the skills that you are very proficient in.

So, how many pages should my resume be?

I would say 3 pages is the maximum length of a resume – you should be able to cover all the highlights in your career (even a very long career) in 3 pages. Anything over 3 pages is just way too long, and honestly no one who’s busy would even bother reading that far. And, if your resume is too long it might lead some people to jump to the conclusion that you are somebody who takes too long to get to the point, basically someone long-winded who can’t finish things quickly (and people who can’t get things done are the type of people no one wants to hire). Try to keep your resume short and sweet, but also not too short to where you leave out critical information.

How your resume looks matters

Having a lot of graphics, fancy fonts, borders, footnotes and really creative designs are not a good idea these days for a couple reasons. For one thing, scanners don’t like these things. Two, it can make the resume harder to read. Using a 7 point font to get the resume to fit onto page is a Big Mistake. Hiring managers and whoever else is reading resumes do not like eyestrain. If the resume is visually challenging in any way, they might just throw it aside for one that is easier on the eyes. You might be thinking this is unfair, and you’re right – but this is the reality of the situation. There are tons of resumes out there these days, and sifting through 10,000 resumes for one job is not fun for resume readers.

What if I just graduated from college – should my resume be only one page in that case?

If you are a recent college graduate then you probably shouldn’t have much trouble fitting everything on one page – unless you’ve had a lot of relevant technical internships. But, don’t worry too much if you’re a recent graduate and you can’t fit everything on one page as long as the stuff on your resume is RELEVANT to the work you’re looking for.

What if the job description asks for a one page resume?

You should already know the answer to this question – if that’s what the employer is asking for then that is what you need to do. But, I have yet to see an employer who has asked that this be done – although it’s certainly possible. In this case, you simply have to prioritize and leave out anything that is not critical to your resume so it can fit on just one page.

But, the bottom line is that a one page resume is not something that you must have.

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