In this article, we’re diving even deeper into the subject of resume writing to help job seekers finesse their resumes to the point of perfection. Here, we’ll explain if a one- or two-page resume is right for your application and cover several easy ways to shorten your resume.
How long should a resume be?
Are you wondering how long your resume should be?
The short answer is: one page—probably.
The long answer is that there are always exceptions to the rule. In some cases, a 2-page resume might be necessary to include all your experience. However, the reality is that recruiters and employers aren’t going to comb through every sentence of your resume. Quite the opposite, actually. Recruiters and employers will scan your resume—you literally only have seconds (approximately 6 of them) to make a lasting impression.
That means that your resume needs to catch the reader’s attention on the first page.
How effective can a one-page resume be?
There’s no question that one-page resumes can be extremely effective.
Generally speaking, a one-page resume is an ideal length for:
If you have less than 10 years of relevant work experience for the job you’re applying for, you likely don’t need more than one page to showcase your qualifications.
A resume of two or more pages may be appropriate for:
- Mid- to high-level job seekers
- Professionals with 10+ years of relevant experience
Candidates with established careers searching for high-level positions may need more than one page to list all their skills and accomplishments. However, even when your resume is more than one page, the reader should be able to get a good assessment of you who are based on the first page alone.
Typically, a CV is a more appropriate format for a detailed skill overview. Click to learn more about the differences between a resume and a CV.
Customizing your resume
You might be thinking that it’s impossible to list out your entire career history on one page only. The great thing is, you don’t have to.
The best way to streamline your resume into one page is to customize it to the job description at hand. The whole purpose of a resume is to show employers how your skills align with the open position. It’s such a key part of resume writing, that resume alignment is one of our top 5 resume hacks.
Aligning your resume involves removing irrelevant information so that only your pertinent skills and accomplishments remain.
That part-time job you held as a grad student at the campus cafeteria? It probably won’t help your chances of landing a cybersecurity specialist position at an IT company. Your volunteer experience at the campus computer repair centre, on the other hand—that’s relevant!
If it’s not relevant, it doesn’t need to be there. If it matches any of the key competencies in the job ad, you can bet it’s relevant.
How to shorten a resume
Let’s say you’ve customized all your work experience to the job description and you still can’t manage to make your resume fit on one page.
Don’t panic—here are a few resume tips to squeeze all that job-winning info onto one page.
Create concise resume content
The best way to shorten your resume is to read through it with a fine-toothed comb and delete any superfluous content. Basically, don’t use two sentences if you can get your point across in one.
Look for unnecessary info. You don’t need to list your GPA. You don’t need to specify that “References are available upon request.” When you’re writing in bullet point form, you don’t even need to use short words like “a”, “and” and “the.”
For instance, compare these two descriptions of the responsibilities of a receptionist.
- As a receptionist, I was responsible for managing the timetables of personnel, answering phone calls and emails, entering reservations on the computer and greeting walk-in customers.
- Responsibilities included: managing personnel timetables, answering phone calls & emails, entering computer reservations, greeting walk-in customers.
Feel free to defy the formal rules of grammar to be as succinct as possible. Using ampersands (“phone calls & emails”) or even dashes (“phone calls/emails”) is perfectly acceptable—you save space and your future employer saves time.
Change the resume font size
Probably the easiest way to shrink your resume is to change the font size of the text. If you’re writing in a standard 12-point, try dropping down to 11-point, or maybe even 10.5-point.
Do remember though that your number one priority is to keep your resume easy to read. If an employer has to pull out their reading glasses to make sense of your resume, it defeats the purpose of fitting everything onto one page.
So, play with font size, but avoid making the text too small to read quickly.
Change the resume font
Some fonts take up more space than others. If you’re only one or two lines away from fitting your content onto one page, a simple switch from Calibri to Times New Roman may be all it takes to shorten your resume.
Change the resume font style
Did you know that bolded words take up more space than italicized words?
Sometimes, simply switching the font style of your headers can go a long way to minimizing the length of your resume. Keep in mind, you do want your headers to be distinct from the rest of your resume text. Choose what style functions you use and don’t use carefully so that the readability of your resume stays high.
Find your next job
Is your resume ready for action? Get it out into the job field now! Adecco Canada works with thousands of organizations nationwide to “transform the world of work through people who love what they do.” Our industry-leading recruiters can help get your resume into the hands of your next employer. Apply today!