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I know we have questions about why resumes should be one or two pages long but my question is, how do you decided between one or two pages?

I'm a recent graduate and my school told us that generally newer students have two pages whereas more experienced people have one, because it's more specific to the job. I personally always write my resume specific to the job and usually have two pages but can see how it could be compressed.

I worked quite a bit while in school so I have a long and varied resume and with teams/clubs that I was part of, so I can easily fill 2 pages.

What are the pros and cons of a one vs two page resume and when should which be used?

  • Can you fit the content onto one page? Will the second page be "filler" of some kind, or actually more information about you that aims to sell you to the prospective employer? Always remember that the purpose of a résumé is to sell you to a prospective employer enough to get your foot in the door for an interview. Nothing more, nothing less. – a CVn Feb 26 '16 at 10:27
  • I'm not sure if you're referring to undergraduate or graduate, but my undergraduate university recommended to never go beyond one page for us. – Lexi Feb 26 '16 at 20:40
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Take what your school tells you about job searching and interviewing with a grain of salt. Many college career centers offering job searching advice are out-of-touch at best and dangerously incompetent at worst. Anything they say that strikes you as odd or bizarre probably is exactly that. Workplace-related blogs and sites like this one are generally more reliable sources of information but you always want to be careful about whose advice you accept.

As for resumes, the golden rule is:

  • never have more than two pages
  • stick to one page if you only have a few years of work experience

The reason for this is that you want your resume to be a real marketing document that showcases your strengths. That means that every phrase on it should highlight your skills or experience in some way. Anything that doesn't do that is pure filler and will negatively impact the reader's opinion. Hiring manager are busy people and don't appreciate you saying everything twice or mentioning things that don't make you a better candidate. They want to quickly be able to see the experience you have and whether that makes you a fit for their company and the position they're hiring for.

It's simply the reality that with only a few years worth of experience, you won't have enough accomplishments or developed skills to fill two pages without resorting to filler or abusive amounts of white space.

As Alison Green says:

Two-page resumes are common now, so if you’re been agonizing over how to stick to one page, agonize no longer. There is one big exception to this, though, and that’s if you only have a few years of experience. If that’s you, stick to one page. It looks a little silly to see someone two years out of school with a two-page resume; it’s rarely needed, and you’ll generally come across as a little self-important or unable to edit. There are exceptions to every rule, of course — but in my experience, everyone thinks they’re the exception on this, when only a small minority of people really are. So be brutal about sticking to one if your experience is limited.

She also goes on to mention how you probably never want to break the two-page barrier:

I also see a lot of three-page resumes, but I’ve yet to be convinced that anyone is in a situation where they need a third page. (Obviously, if you’re under 30, don’t even think about this. Hell, if you’re under 40, don’t even think about this.) I’m not going to reject someone because they use three pages, but I’m also not sure I’ve ever seen anyone I wanted to hire who used a third page. I suspect there’s a correlation between hireability and the ability to concisely distill your accomplishments down to what matters.

Richard rightly pointed out that in some industries and highly technical fields, longer resumes can be the norm. These are typically fields with a high number of possible qualifications and areas of specialization where you also want to back up your qualifications with your work experience. Job searchers in this position will typically know that this is standard for their field though. As an example, I've seen this be recommended for SAP experts and can confirm that two pages could be difficult for an experienced candidate in that field.


I worked quite a bit while in school so I have a long and varied resume and with teams/clubs I'm part of I can easily fill 2 pages.

Just because you can doesn't mean you should. Teams and clubs probably don't belong on your resume in the first place, unless you truly accomplished things there that required real effort and taught you skills that will transfer to the type of work you're interviewing for.

  • I agree with you, I actually went to two schools and the one where they gave this advice is very clearly out of touch with job employment after graduation. – KimC Feb 26 '16 at 11:51
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    In general, good advice but with one Caveat. For any industry that is heavy on technical requirements, the rule is a bit different. You can easily fill most of the first page with technologies you know, after that, recruiters and hiring managers want to see bullet points on your resume demonstrating your use of said technologies. Anything less than two pages is going to raise serious doubts. – Richard U Feb 26 '16 at 14:23
  • @RichardU Of course, exceptions certainly exist. Luckily anyone who's been around long enough to have built up such a list of relevant technologies will typically also have been involved in hiring and will know what's standard for his industry. – Lilienthal Feb 26 '16 at 14:30
  • @Lilienthal. Yes, I didn't mean to step on your answer. As I said, it is a good answer (+1). – Richard U Feb 26 '16 at 15:02
  • @RichardU I didn't think you were, I make it a habit to acknowledge good comments. I've added your comment to the answer since it bears mentioning. – Lilienthal Feb 26 '16 at 16:34
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If you are in the USA, you should stick to one page resume. As an engineering student, I have taken couple of seminar courses where the professor/ instructor review résumés. They have always told us to avoid blank spaces within the résumé and keep it to one full page. This means, you should only have relevant information on your résumé, not your clubs and extra curricular activities.

My résumé has 5 internships/jobs related to my expertise, my education and related area of concentration; a one-sentence statement; and skills related to the industry. Since all these take up most of the space, I decided not to include unrelated clubs, or awards and achievements dating back 5 years (international math and physics competition gold medals).

You should remove all the redundant information, tighten your border margins, lessen the line spacing and font and still keep it legible.

As I said, this is solely for the USA where employers usually require one page résumé.

In Turkey, for example, you can have a résumé as long as 3 pages, explaining everything in detail since the interview process is not as extensive.

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