Should a Resume Be One Page Long? (Plus How to Write It)
By Indeed Editorial Team
Published 20 April 2022
The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.
Keeping your resume to one page makes it easier for hiring managers to read it. They can quickly see your qualifications and top skills to decide if you're suitable for the role. Compared to longer resumes, one-page resumes focus on the most relevant work experiences and accomplishments for the job you're applying to. In this article, we answer the question, 'Should a resume be one page?', discuss how to write a one-page resume and share some tips on writing one.
Why should a resume be one page?
Here are some benefits and reasons to use a one-page resume:
It's easier to read. Hiring managers usually receive many applications and only have a short time to review them. A one-page resume can help highlight your skills and work experience quickly.
It keeps your resume focused and concise. When you shorten your resume to a single page, you include only your top qualifications and achievements to appeal to your potential employer.
It's a chance to showcase your creativity. With limited space to share all your skills, you can express your creativity in designing the resume and using the space effectively to convey relevant information.
Can a resume be more than one page?
Depending on the industry and job position that you're applying for, a resume of two or three pages may work better. For instance, if you're applying for a job that requires more than a decade of experience, having a longer resume that lists all relevant details about your past projects and responsibilities might be helpful. Industries like academics, finance and STEM fields require specific skill sets and achievements that may require you to create resumes that are longer than one page.
How to fit your resume on one page
It's possible to fit all the necessary information in a one-page resume. Here are steps to help you format your resume and include all relevant details on a single page:
1. Reduce your margins
Shortening your margins gives you more space to elaborate on your qualifications, skills and work experience. It also allows you to share a bit more about your personality traits. The common margin to use is 2.5 centimetres but you can shorten your margins more, ideally no less than 1.27 centimetres. You can save your resume as a PDF instead of using any other format to save your formatting and prevent unintentional edits. This ensures that the hiring managers see the same document you do.
2. Decrease the font size
Decrease your font size from the standard 12-point font to a 10-point font size. This keeps your resume readable while giving you more space for the various sections. Use the same font size throughout and distinguish section headers by bolding or italicising them. If your resume looks compact, try adjusting the line and letter spacing.
3. Insert bullet points
Instead of writing information in paragraphs, use bullet points to state your academic and work accomplishments. Bullet points make your resume look neat, clear and concise. They also help you focus on action verbs and keywords instead of filler words or redundant sentences. Keep the length of each point to one or two lines to save space and enhance readability.
4. Add multiple columns
You can also add columns to make the most of the space. Columns make each section look visually appealing as they seem neater and more organised. Using the same line also gives you more space for your work experience, skills and education details. Add an offset column between one to two inches on the right or left side to include information in short bullet points, like your hobbies and contact information.
5. Compress your titles
Reduce the words you use in titles for your education and work experience sections. Limit them to one line each to reduce the space you use. When listing your education, keep the name of your school, years attended and qualifications attained in the same line. Similarly, for your work experience, mention your company's name, your job title, and your timeline of employment in one line. To make it easier to read, you can bold these titles and separate them. For example, your work experience could look like Wavewood Restaurant | Manager | 2015-2020.
6. Edit your summary and education section
Your work experience is the key focus of your resume. To give adequate space to the same, you can also reduce the content in your summary and education sections. Your university education is the most important, so you can add a bullet point to elaborate on your degree if you're a recent graduate. For your educational qualifications before university, keep them to one line each, including the school name, years attended and qualification attained. The resume summary can be two or three lines long so that it briefly describes your career goals and aspirations.
7. Provide references upon request
Attach reference or referral letters as separate documents when applying for a job. Companies usually request references in a separate email or section of the application, so you don't have to list them on your resume. If the company that you're applying for isn't asking for your references, you can add the line "references available upon request" towards the end of your resume.
What information can you leave out in a one-page resume?
Here are some details that you can remove to keep your resume to one page:
Companies usually contact applicants via email or mobile. This means that your home address is not necessary and doesn't add value to your resume. You can simply mention your current city and use the additional space for the summary instead.
It can be helpful to add a photo of yourself on your resume for certain jobs, but it can take up significant space. You can consider including a link to your profile on professional networking sites or social media platforms as an alternative. Post a professional photo as your profile picture and adjust your privacy settings so that it's visible to your potential employers.
Irrelevant work experience
You can skip information about jobs that are not relevant for the job. If you have extra space on your resume, you can include your older job positions which may have some indirect significance. If you include them, focus on your achievements and keep them shorter than the rest of your work experience.
Other irrelevant information
Sections like extra-curricular activities during university and volunteering experience in school can help showcase your soft skills but are unnecessary if you require more space. Instead, state your soft and hard skills in one to two lines. Similarly, including your hobbies and interests gives your employer a better understanding of your personality, but it's better to save space for your work accomplishments if you're short on space.
Tips to keep your resume to one page
Besides formatting your resume, here are some tips to follow when writing a one-page resume:
Write job experience smartly
If you've been with the same company for an extended period, you can show your career progression by chronologically mentioning your job titles. Separate the positions and elaborate on your duties and skills attained for each position. You can state and elaborate on your internship experiences if you're a recent graduate. Avoid repeating the company's name when describing your progress within the organisation. The same applies to educational institutions; if your graduate and undergraduate degrees are from the same university, you can mention the name once and provide details about your degree below it.
Choose to include relevant experience and skills
To keep your resume focused and short, only include skills and experience related to the role. For example, if you're applying for a position in finance, you can omit including your experience as a part-time waitress or fast-food worker on your resume. This gives you more space to explain your current work experience and skills.
Use numerals instead of spelling out numbers
It's acceptable to use numerals on your resume instead of spelling out the numbers. It won't make your resume look unprofessional and can give you more space to highlight other relevant information. For example, one of your job duties can be In-charge of a team of 8 writers and 3 editors.
Decide upon the maximum number of bullet points to use
When writing about your experiences, limit yourself to a maximum of four or five bullet points. This keeps you focused on including the most valuable information. It also makes your resume look cleaner and visually appealing. You can have fewer bullet points for jobs with lesser duties and add extra points to experiences you want to elaborate more on.
Please note that none of the companies, institutions or organisations mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.
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