There is much professional debate on whether or not a resume should be limited to a single page1,2,3,4.

To combine the best of both worlds, I typically try to maintain both a trimmed single-page resume highlighting my most relevant experience, and an extended resume containing my complete work history.

Having a complete work history has been very helpful when revising and tailoring job applications for specific employers. It is much easier to reference details and experiences when I have the necessary information conveniently located in one place.

The downside of an extended resume is that it requires updating and maintaining two separate resumes. Any updates or additions to my shortened single-page resume must also be made on my completed resume and vise-versa. This has sometimes led to my 'extended' resume becoming out-of-date.

How can I make it easier to maintain both a 'complete' and 'single-page' version of my resume?

closed as unclear what you're asking by Dukeling, gnat, Masked Man, Michael Grubey, Mister Positive Jul 10 '17 at 11:42

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  • I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it seems like it's roughly asking for a software recommendation. – Dukeling Jul 8 '17 at 15:50
  • @Dukeling I've removed the last paragraph to make my question more about recommended methods for maintaining a resume with full work history. – Stevoisiak Jul 8 '17 at 16:24
  • just to be clear, does single page mean 1 side of paper or 2 sides? – user29055 Jul 8 '17 at 17:19
  • I guess the smarty-pants answer to this question is, "use two files" :pppp – Fattie Jul 8 '17 at 18:28

Having a master resume, or "complete" resume (as you call it), is always a good idea. I'm sure you have countless work, volunteer, and community experiences that span over the length one single spaced page. You're right that the safest bet is to apply for jobs with a single page resume and customize your experiences to fit the role.

Maintenance actually isn't as time consuming as you're lead to believe. Granted you have one version of your complete resume set up, and one version of your job-ready resume set up, all it takes is maybe 15 minutes of adding new experiences and copying and pasting to your single page version.

Keep your "complete" resume, however long, in .doc format. Let's call that one Steven_MasterResume.doc

Next, you should have a .doc format single page resume from a recent job application. Let's call it Steven_Resume.doc

If you don't have a recent copy, create a resume based on the next job you're applying to.

When submitting your resume, convert to pdf to prevent any errors in formatting that may occur during electronic submissions. Your submitted resume will be Steven_ResumeMay2017.pdf

Now, we'll fast forward to maybe 3 months down the line. You have a new role with experiences you want to document for future reference. Add this to the top the work experiences in Steven_MasterResume.doc. When the time comes to apply to another job, copy and paste the new experience to Steven_Resume.doc, remove an experience you think is less relevant (to keep the page length to 1), save, then convert that copy to a pdf named Steven_ResumeOctober2017.pdf.


I've found that it's not worth maintaining multiple versions of my resume over time. Instead, I maintain a complete one and, when I need to send one out, I generate the subset at that time. This approach allows not only editing for length but also editing for specific targets, a type of customization I have found useful in my career.

I don't recommend trying to single-source a resume using conditional text. (I'm a technical writer; tools I routinely use support conditional text.) It sounds like a good idea but on a resume you really need the text to flow and the formatting to be clean, and that turns out to be hard if you're eliding a paragraph here and two sentences there.

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