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Similar to this question, but it really focuses on why a resume shouldn't be too long, rather than if it should be of a minimum length.

Is a resume that doesn't take up a page useful to a hiring manager, or is it insufficient to give them an idea of the candidate?

I understand that this is going to vary depending on the particular job and industry, but keeping your resume to one or two pages is such common knowledge, there must be a guideline or an extremely common preference regarding the minimum length as well.

  • My resume is about 5 pages and never had a problem. – SmallChess Jun 4 '17 at 2:46
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    @SmallChess ...at least not that you know of. – Robert Jun 4 '17 at 4:18
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Is a resume that doesn't take up a page useful to a hiring manager, or is it insufficient to give them an idea of the candidate?

If you don't have one page of data, then your resume will come out to less than one page.

As long as your resume adequately describes you, then the fact that it is less than one page won't be a problem at all. It can fulfill the reviewer's needs - to know enough about you to decide if you are worth interviewing or not, even if it doesn't fill a page.

That said, you should attempt to stretch it out just a bit so that it fills as much of one page as you can without including silly "filler". That way, it looks more like a page to the eye of the reviewer and the fact that it has little information (presumably because you are young and/or still a student) won't stand out.

  • Use wide margins
  • Use a slightly larger font
  • Increase the spacing between lines by a small amount, and do the same between paragraphs
  • Include all information spelled out without using too many abbreviations
  • Include less relevant (perhaps even part-time) jobs
  • For appropriate data (such as job tasks) use a bulleted list, rather than a paragraph of text
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It will depend on the job that you are applying for. A part-time fast food or retail job that typically hires high school students won't be looking for lots of information. But anything that is professional or graduate level is certainly going to want a full page.

If you haven't got a job history to rely on, then you will need to find other experiences that you can use to illustrate your experience. Maybe list skills and give an example of where each has been used. Be sure to include any extra-curricular activities during school, and include a short paragraph for each describing your involvement - even if it was just turning up on a regular basis and interacting with others.

Your resume is a chance to sell your skills, character and experience. It's not just a list of information. A very short resume gives the hirer no particular reason to think that you might be suitable. If there is any competition for the post, then there is no reason to choose you instead of the other guy.

(In contrast to Joe Strazzere's answer, I think you should only ever pad whitespace if the text is too crowded in the first place, not to artificially stretch out the content. If you need more, don't add whitespace, think of another point you could make instead.)

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White space padding is generally harmless. It does not get in the way of quickly finding key information such as education and work experience.

I strongly disagree with padding with words, as suggested in mike_dowler's answer. When I was involved in hiring, I wanted to get to the information that mattered to me as quickly as possible.

If you have a shiny new bachelor's degree and a couple of summer jobs, any competent reader is going to find that out despite any padding. That may be enough to get you an interview for some jobs. If it is not, no amount of padding is going to get you an interview. A clear, short resume demonstrates the ability to identify essentials and convey them in writing, as well as consideration for your readers.

Of course, if a particular extra-curricular activity is relevant to the job, it should be included in an entry level resume. For example, participation in a robotics club would be relevant to a programming job.

  • I didn't suggest padding with words. I suggested adding more information. It's not just about your job history, it's about what skills you have. – mike_dowler Jun 4 '17 at 7:16
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I'm in a phase of hiring at the moment. I would say the length per se is something of a red herring, but to rephrase your question slightly, absolutely it is offputting, and likely to lead to not getting an interview, if your resume doesn't include sufficient information to enable an informed decision. And yes, I have binned candidates due to their not having given me enough data to make an informed decision, especially where that co-incides with no explanation in any form (cover note, email message, resume body) of how the candidate meets the advertised criteria.

You need to include data that lets the hiring manager know that you meet all the threshold requirements (some of which might be unstated - such as 'sufficient grasp of English written communication'), and data that convinces the hiring manager that there are ways in which you are superior to other candidates who meet all the threshold requirements. Unless you know the other candidates personally (may be possible in a niche professional job, where the number of candidates meeting the criteria is very low, and you have likely met them at professional events - e.g. judgeship, senior surgeon - but unlikely elsewhere) there is going to be some redundancy in your resume, because you can't completely anticipate how the other candidates are presenting themselves. Excepting jobs where the requirements are 'have a pulse, and get to the site reliably', it's difficult to imagine less than one page getting those jobs done.

That said, if your current role is very prestigious, and you have a very strong reputation in your industry, you may occasionally get away with a very short resume. You can imagine, for example, that if Stephen Hawking had wanted to switch from Cambridge to Oxford or maybe Princeton some time in the last 35 years, once he'd convinced them he was the 'real' Stephen Hawking, the details on a resume wouldn't have had much to do with the decision (not saying that getting the job would be certain - just that any plausible interviewer would be thoroughly familiar with Hawking's work and able to make a decision).

To summarise, be sceptical if your resume seems very short. Imagine you're the hiring manager - is every thing you would want to know written on the resume, including ways you are different to other candidates (for example, if you are applying for a graduate position, having a degree doesn't make you different)? If necessary, put it aside and come back to it the next day, so that important information is not omitted.

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