Why the one page resume doesn’t solve everything!

Just when you think resume writers have helped the world understand that the one-page resume is a myth, someone wakes it up again!

Should you have a one-page resume?

Someone sent me a link and asked if this one-page resume advice was contrary to my thinking. The link he sent was written by Alison Doyle. I respect Alison as one of the people in the career industry who is thoughtful and gives accurate advice. I read through the article which begins:

Should your resume be longer than one page or should you try to condense it to keep it on a page? There isn’t a yes or no answer, the length of your resume depends on the type of candidate you are and your level of experience.

What should your resume look like?

I agree with that advice. It doesn’t recommend a one-page resume for everyone. But then Alison shares data from Saddleback College Survey which says in part:

According to a Saddleback College Resume Survey most employers want a one page resume unless the position requires experience. In fact, the percentage of employers looking for one page resumes increased to 48% last year, up from 35% in 2010.

Note the UNLESS and understand this is one survey. There are things in that survey I agree with too. But there are things that I don’t think are a national trend. Like this:

Nearly 30% of employers would prefer a 2-sided printed resume over a 2-page resume to conserve paper.

This contradicts most employers I know. Many resumes are read online or submitted via applicant tracking systems. I think it is a moot point. Saving paper is a nice idea but I think there are many other ways to do that. The resume isn’t one of them.

Misconceptions about resume writing are everywhere

The one-page resume is one of the misconceptions. People get so focused on this one-page resume idea that they don’t put anything of value into the resume just so they can keep it on one page.

I think employers who believe in one-page resumes need to rethink their goal with the resume. You want candidates who can do the job. You want them to be succinct in their ability to communicate but you need them to tell you what they can do. Here’s another point from that Saddleback survey that I do agree with:

Mentioning where they worked (and years of service) but providing no information on what they accomplished. Projects completed. The overall details of their work.

The title of that page was the #1 resume mistake.

Give job seekers a break. Let’s tell them loud and clear that to be hired or even considered for an interview, they need to provide value to the employer. Examples of your accomplishments are much better than a boring list of duties neatly set to fit on a one-page resume.

Ari asked what my recommendations are and this is it:

At Design Resumes, the resume is a marketing document to promote you as the product to the employer.

The proof is always in whether job seekers are hired. I can tell you success story after success story of my clients. They make me so proud. My clients (including students) have gone up against the worst economy in 80 years. They find positions they love using 2-page resumes filled with value and accomplishments. In addition, these savvy job seekers implement networking strategies to make sure their resume is read.

This from a student client from Wausau who graduated from the University of Minnesota with Bachelor of Chemical Engineering – Biomolecular Engineering Concentration, 2011, moved to California and used his value-filled two-page resume:

243k jobs added? Make that +1. Started my new job at Medtronic today!!

What do I think? Write a resume that shows your value and you will be hired. Let’s give them some meat (think value and accomplishments) to read!

Stuck in your job search or just ready to move on or up from your existing position? Julie Walraven, a Wausau, Wisconsin-based professional resume writer who works with a global base of clients can help you find a new career! To find out how: Click here!

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Why the one page resume doesn\'t solve everything!


  1. Kathy Bitschenauer on February 8, 2012 at 11:42 pm

    Great analysis, Julie!For my executive clients I recommend they use both a full resume to “leave behind” after an interview, and a one-page executive summary to give networking contacts and recruiters. This works well because they have the flexibility of using either as a situation requires.

    • Julie Walraven on February 9, 2012 at 8:55 am

      I think the executive summary is a whole different document and good advice for the executive client whose full resume is filled with “meat.” Thanks for stopping by, Kathy.

      The reason the one-page myth holds so much value is that there are so many poor resumes out there for the candidates at entry level and even management level. You really don’t want to waste your time reading garbage.

      A well-crafted resume written by an expert however is a different animal and your example of using flexibility and I would suggest discernment is great!

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