Deciding the length of the Resume
As the job market becomes ever more competitive, you may need to use multiple pages to persuade a potential employer to grant you an interview. For résumés, limiting your document to one page is a good approach for new college graduates and high school students. Some employers may specifically ask for a one-page résumé. However, do not shy away from adding that extra page of accomplishments—as long as it is relevant and persuasive.
The following sections will give you more advice about when to use résumés of different lengths and will suggest some ways to create a memorable second or third page. Remember, though, that the length of your résumé depends on the rhetorical situation and your audiences’ needs.
When to use one-page résumés
1. New college graduates and other entry-level job seekers tend to need a one-page résumé for the following reasons.
- The applicant does not have enough relevant experience to fill more than one page
- The situation requires the résumé to focus on coursework and/or other leadership activities that connect you to the job you are seeking
- The résumé must meet a job fairs’ expectations
- The résumé must meet a potential employer’s expectations.
2. If you have less than ten years of experience, you may need to focus on one/two jobs, which may shorten your résumé to one page.
- Focus on skills you have obtained
- Do not record every single action of that job to take up space; emphasize the relevant duties
3. If you are pursuing a radical career change, much of your experience may not be relevant to the new job.
- Focus on the relevant skills you have obtained
- Do not stretch your information to cover more than one page if you cannot relate it to your current goal in some way
When to use two-page résumés
1. Some new college graduates and other entry-level job seekers do have the experience to qualify for a two-page résumé.
- Some employers require a second, separate page for references
- The length of the document depends on relevant jobs, internships, extracurricular involvement, and leadership.
- Do not make your font smaller than 10 or your margins less than 1 inch. If you must do this to fit a one-page résumé, consider the two-page format.
- Remember that some recruiters at job fairs will accept a two-page résumé, but you should bring a one-page version to be safe.
- Always ask a company if they accept two-page résumés before sending one
2. Consider a two-page résumé if you are above entry-level positions, but below the executive level.
- You should include the various jobs/duties you have held
3. If you are seeking a job that requires technical/engineering/scientific skills, you may need a second page.
- You should list/prove your technical/scientific knowledge and/or experience
When to use three- or more page résumés
1. If you are a senior-level manager/executive, your résumé may require three or more pages.
- You should include a long record of leadership accomplishments
- You may be required to give very specific details of your past duties because you will be given more responsibility at the job you are seeking.
- You should possibly include examples of your vision, flexibility, ethics, integrity, etc.
2. If you are seeking a job in the academic or scientific field, you will likely be required to provide a curricula vita (a long résumé with different information). In addition to listing your education, you should include the following:
- Publications, presentations, licenses, etc.
- Teaching and/or research experience.
Tips on making a second or third page
Before you make your résumé longer, you should first ask employers if they even accept two-page résumés. If they do, then you should plan the extra pages. For instance, you may want to focus an extra page on key leaderships skills or projects. You could even title that page to reflect its focus. Then, you could list and describe projects you led in classes, organizations, sororities/fraternities, etc.
You may find that the extra pages work best as supplemental sheets. Such sheets could list presentations, awards, technical skills, etc. If you use this option, you could pick and choose which sheets to send to what employer. For example, you may send a detailed list of your technical skills to a computer company, but you would send a list of your research awards and presentations to a research firm.
When you include extra pages, you must consider the effect a longer résumé will have on your reader. For instance, you will always need to have the attention-getting information on the first page. Some employers may skip over other pages.
Coherence is also important for someone to understand your skills. In this regard, avoid splitting the details of a specific job onto another page. However, you could have one job detailed at the bottom of page one, and another at the top of page two. Another way to increase coherency is to number the résumé pages and include header/footers, such as “Jodi Forrester’s Accomplishments Continued…” In addition, consider adding a summary of your skills/high points to the beginning of the résumé. Such a summary would allow readers to see your main qualifications at a glance…and then read the rest of your résumé to find specific details.
Extra pages can:
- Focus on leadership skills/projects
- Work as supplemental sheets to list certain points that specific audiences would want to know.
Extra pages must:
- Be coherent
- Be organized
- Not make your reader lose interest