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Your one-page resume is doing more harm than good

How can you fit all of your relevant experience, accomplishments, and credentials onto a single page resume that really sells your candidacy and doesn’t feel cramped?

Well, the truth is, it can be done, but you don’t really need to.

For years many employment professionals have been telling job seekers that they need to get their resumes down to one page and that busy employers are not going to bother reading beyond that. This was the case with my neighbour.

She is in university and has had a couple of pretty cool jobs while studying. I’m a little envious actually. While I was in school, most of my paid gigs were made up of factory and farm work. The night shift at a department store. I had one (unpaid) internship at a local newspaper.

Anyway, she was convinced that her resume had to fit on a page, but in order to include her degree, media certificate, volunteer work, and relevant professional jobs, it was a margin-to-margin wall of dense text that was painful to look at and difficult to read.

That’s not going to help her get a job.

Your resume has to be visually appealing. It needs to easily offer up the information that employers will be looking for first. These tend to be your name, job title, and most recent work history. If those seem to match with the job, employers will read on, checking out your professional summary, work experience in more detail, and relevant credentials.

If everything they see on the first page is relevant to the employer’s needs, they will read on the see more. In fact, having a resume that is more than one page can actually increase your chances of being hired, not hurt them.

A 2018 study of over 500 recruitment professionals found that, out of the 7,712 resumes that participants chose in the simulated hiring process, the vast majority (5,375 of them) were the ones that were two pages long. The results showed that recruiters were 2.3 times as likely to prefer a two-page resume over a one-page resume.

This was true for candidates of all career levels from junior to executive. You can read more about that study here.

If you can display all of your relevant qualifications onto a single page, especially if you are just starting out in your career, then go ahead. But be sure that your document is pleasantly laid out with bold headings, bullet points, and effective use of white space.

Billionaire and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos is an accomplished man, and he has a one-page resume. You can see that here. (Although he’s probably not actively looking for work right now.)

Just remember that a crammed and dense looking document will lose more points for being hard to read than it gains for being short. Use the space you need to share all of the information you have that is relevant to the job you want.

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