There are so many nuances when it comes to writing an effective resume for today’s market that it’s hard for anyone other than a trained professional writer to keep track. Between the evolving needs of employers and their growing reliance on recruitment technology, resume writing has become both an art and a science.
In this series, our goal is to explain some of the common changes resume writers make — and why they are in your best interest.
Why your new resume is two pages long
If your old resume had accumulated a few extra pages over the years, it can be a shock to find your entire career summed up in only two pages. However, this is exactly what recruiters are looking for.
The reality is that most recruiters spend less than 10 seconds reviewing a resume before deciding if a candidate should receive further consideration. With so little time to make the right impression, it’s important to present a succinct document that highlights the relevant parts of your skills, experience, and education.
To achieve this ideal resume length, your writer may reduce jobs older than 15 years to the bare essentials: your job title, the company name, and its location. In other cases, jobs you held that fall outside of this 15-year window or that are unrelated to your current goals may be omitted entirely.
Part of a professional writer’s job is to treat your resume like a marketing document, carefully curating its content to support your goals. Rather than providing an endless list of everything you’ve done for the past 25-plus years, a resume writer aims to highlight your qualifications and downplay or remove information that does not support your candidacy. When your resume is written with a specific goal in mind, it’s easier to eliminate unnecessary details and achieve the optimal page length.
Why two pages? Why not one?
Given the incredibly short amount of time recruiters spend reviewing resumes, you may wonder why your resume wasn’t reduced to simply one page. Well, a 2018 study found that recruiters actually prefer two-page resumes over one-page resumes, on average. According to the study, when compared with single-page resumes, two-page resumes increase the amount of time recruiters spend reviewing the applicant and can ultimately improve the candidate’s likelihood of getting hired. One page is simply not enough space to provide a strong career narrative, outline all of your relevant skills, and provide proof of your qualifications in a visually pleasing manner.
It’s a careful balancing act: Too little information on your resume, and recruiters may not be convinced of your value. Too much information, and recruiters may lose interest in your application before they can properly assess your qualifications. Trust in the fact that your professional resume writer is trained to know the difference and provide just the right amount of information within those two pages to impress an employer with your career narrative and the value you bring to the table.
Exceptions to the two-page resume rule
There are a few exceptions to this rule, of course. For example, if you’re making a major career change, your resume may be reduced to one page that highlights the skills and parts of your experience that are relevant to this new job goal. On the flip side, if you’re in an academic or scientific field or pursuing a job within the U.S. federal government, your resume will require more than two pages to meet the application requirements of those industries.