Questioning resume page length is an age-old question that really should be put to bed, and let me tell you why…
Have you heard this advice: “Your resume shouldn’t be more than 1 page in length.”
Really, do you believe this?
Make the one-page “argument” to some college grads, and you’ll likely get plenty of nodding heads in agreement that a brief resume is best. Make that same argument to someone with 10+ years of work experience (think established professionals, such as managers and executives), and well, you’ll likely hear grumbling with lots of disagreement.
How does a person with 10 years of tenure effectively squeeze that amount of work history — and all the necessary detail pertaining to such — into one page?
What is the big obsession about resume page length anyway? Maybe it’s time to concern yourself more about…
1) Ensuring your resume has edge and is written thoroughly
2) Utilizing a professional resume layout that adequately “sells you” to prospective new employers
3) Writing quality content, while ensuring the content looks full, not sparse
4) Covering and highlighting your most notable, and relevant knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs)
Why now is the question about page length a question that may no longer need an answer? Why is resume page length less of a concern these days? Think of the places we now put resumes for one. You see resumes on Craigslist, LinkedIn, VisualCV, and Elance — and these sites are just the tip of the iceberg. How many pages is your LinkedIn page? How many pages is your VisualCV? These are likely idiotic questions because the Internet has changed how we view content. Now, we focus more on “what’s above the fold,” keyword quality, and skim-ability when it comes to online content. Since an increasing number of resumes are made into soft-copy documents, simply meaning viewed on a computer screen, the age-old question about page length may be becoming less and less relevant.
No doubt, your resume needs to be shaped and customized to fit each job-search “vehicle.”
If a one-page resume is all that’s needed for Craigslist, for example, then yes, a one-page resume satisfies the objective. For other job-search vehicles, let’s say for submission to USAJobs.gov, a one-page resume transitioned to the site’s resume management system probably won’t suffice. USAJOBS, like many other online resume management systems, use keywords to identify prime candidates. So, using a tight, one-page resume might be short-changing your resume in the keyword department and therefore positioning your resume to produce far fewer interviews.
You will need to strike a balance between writing a resume that’s skimmable and provides readers with that they seek, yet writing a resume that is thoroughly written to increase your resume’s chances of being found in computer systems too.