We’ve all asked ourselves at some point, “How long should my resume be?”
The most common answer you’d get on the internet is straightforward: one page.
But what if your 2nd page is jam-packed with relevant work experience?
Or, what if you’re applying for a position in academia?
In this article, we discuss the appropriate length of a resume.
- Should you use a 2-page resume?
- What’s the right length for your resume?
- How to fit a resume on 1 page?
- 7 two-page resume samples (which you can reuse!)
Let’s get started!
Should You Use a 2-Page Resume?
One-page resumes are the norm in the industry.
For a long time, recruiters have preferred concise, one-page resumes that can be looked over quickly. A 2013 survey of 475 Canadian hiring managers found that 39% of recruiters spend less than a minute looking at a resume while 23% spend less than 30 seconds.
However, even though it is widely accepted that a resume should be one page long, there’s no rule that says yours can’t be longer. In fact, recent evidence suggests that for certain situations, two pages are preferable.
A 2018 experiment featuring 482 US-based hiring managers shows that recruiters are becoming more accepting of 2-page resumes, especially from applicants for mid and top-level management positions.
In short, you can go with a 2-page resume if you’re:
- An applicant with over 15 years of experience
- Applying for positions in executive or middle management
- Applying for a role in academia. In which case, there’s no limit on how long your resume can be (more on this later)
Resume & Length - All You Need to Know
Still confused about the one-page vs two-page resume standoff?
We don’t blame you! The lines are pretty blurred.
What if you have less than 10 years of experience, but a wide range of professional experiences that just don’t fit into one page??
What if you’ve been employed for 30 years and yet 2 full pages seem difficult to fill?
Or maybe a student with dozens of achievements? Is it okay to have a two-page resume then?
Let’s break it down one item at a time:
How far back should a resume go?
If you have a long work history, you should only go a maximum of 10 to 15 years back.
Unless it was something outstanding, the recruiter doesn’t need to know what you were doing 20 years ago. Chances are, the jobs from the beginning of your career aren’t as impressive as the ones you’ve held more recently.
For example, there’s no need to mention you were a market research assistant 18 years ago if you were head of marketing 3 years ago.
Have some notable achievements from back in the day?
You can still list them without going back 20 years with your work experiences!
Just create a section called “Achievements” and use it to highlight all your career wins, whether they’re recent or old.
How long should a student resume be?
If you’re a student, you shouldn’t have any reason to go past one page.
If you find yourself struggling to fit everything onto a single page, re-evaluate the information you want to present. Chances are, there are things you can cut altogether.
An extensive list of hobbies and interests? You can trim it or go without.
Part-time babysitting job? No need to mention it when applying for an internship at IBM.
Look at your resume critically and make sure what you’ve written is concise and relevant to the job you are applying for.
If you’re certain that your personality is your most qualifying trait and a single page is not enough of a canvas, you can link your preferred and relevant social media account at your own discretion.
What about CVs?
You should be aware that a curriculum vitae is different from a resume. However, in Europe, these terms are largely used interchangeably.
While a resume is tailored to each job you apply for and aims to sell you as the best candidate for that role, the purpose of a CV is to tell a detailed story about who you are, what you’ve achieved and what you are looking to achieve.
This means it’s usually longer than a resume with an average length of 2-3 pages, and no maximum length restriction.
If you’re applying for a job in academia, you should write a CV.
Resume Length Cheat Sheet
To sum up, here’s a recap of recommended resume lengths based on experience level:
How to Fit a Resume on 1 Page
For students and entry-level professionals, sticking to a one-page limit should not be that difficult.
For the more seasoned professionals, here are some tips to fit all of the necessary information on one page:
- Use an online resume builder. The templates they offer use the optimal typeface, font size, and layout for an aesthetically pleasing one-page fit. This saves you a lot of precious time since you don’t have to get involved with formatting at all. All that you have to do is fill in the information.
- Tailor for the job. Mention only skills and experience relevant to the position you are applying for. Anything unrelated should be removed from the resume entirely. If the company is looking for a data scientist, there’s no need to mention your social media marketing internship.
- Achievements over responsibilities. For each work experience entry, instead of listing your duties, focus on your achievements. What was your performance? What did you and the company gain? Can you put that in numbers? Quantifying your achievements will eliminate unnecessary adjectives and help you stand out.
- Use bullet points. They’re easy to read and give your resume an organized look while also saving space. Don’t go past 6 bullets though, as the result will likely be a giant block of text.
- Remove the high school entry. If you’ve attended college/university, it goes without saying that you also graduated high school. So, if that’s the case, you can just not mention high school altogether.
- Avoid repetition. If your responsibilities in several jobs were the same, try to be selective and only mention similar tasks once. If you’ve been a social media manager for three different companies, don’t write “created content” three times. Instead, focus on your top achievements for each role.
- Have a concise resume summary or resume objective. After all, this is supposed to be a short, attention-grabbing intro to your resume. Use only 2-3 sentences (3 lines of text) to highlight your achievements and skills.
7 Two-Page Resume Samples
#1. Simple Resume Template
With some upgrades from the traditional resume, the Simple resume template could be a great choice if you don’t want to experiment a lot.
As the name suggests, it has a simple design and is perfect for any position.
#2. Professional Resume Template
This all-time favorite template puts equal emphasis on your work experiences and skills. It has a minimalistic design that is easy to skim and makes the resume perfect for executive position applications.
#3. Modern Resume Template
This template helps your resume maintain a professional look, yet stand out among others. It focuses on your previous work experiences and highlights your skills with a pop of color.
#4. Creative Resume Template
If you’re applying for a job in marketing, advertising, design, or any position in the creative space, our Creative resume template is what you’re looking for. It starts with a bold header, emphasizing your resume summary or objective, followed by a more minimalistic design for the rest.
#5. Functional Resume Template
This functional resume template highlights your work experience and skills you’ve developed through the years. It’s minimalistic, featuring a color-accented header and skills section.
#6. Basic Resume Template
This template is as simple and clean-cut as they come. It uses a limited, monochromatic color palette and can be used in any industry.
#7. Executive Resume Template
Discussions over the length of a resume have been going on for ages and all answers seem to have a “but”.
We hope that this article helped clear some of the air around two-page resumes and when to use them.
Before you go, here’s a recap of what we talked about:
- You can use a two-page resume if you have an extensive work history of over 10-15 years or if you’re applying for an executive position.
- If you’re a student or entry-level applicant, your best bet is to use a one-page resume.
- An online resume tool can save time by providing a customizable template to fill in, and make it easier to create a one-page resume.
- Using the appropriate typeface, font size, and line spacing can help you fit more information onto a page.
- If you’re a senior professional or a job-seeker in academia, though, you’re free to use a 2-page resume.