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Shattering the One Page Rule Print
Written by Abby Kohut   

Probably one of the greatest debates between HR professionals, headhunters, and hiring managers is that of the one page resume. Some believe it is absolutely essential and others believe it is an old wife's tale. Now before I give you my opinion, let me tell you when a one page resume is typically the right choice…

When you are graduating from high school or college, and applying for a job, you are eventually going to need to create your first resume. Unless you have won a bunch of awards and also participated in a plethora of extracurricular activities before age 21, you may very well be able to fit a summary of your entire life on one page. This also holds true for those people who have held a single job for a long time and now need to update their resume.

If you can fit everything you want to say onto one clean page, there's no need to stretch it out onto two, but as many candidates find, after a few jobs you'll have lots to say and may choose to use two pages (or more).
Here are some reasons why a multi-page resume is ideal:

  1. If you are not confined to one page, you will not have to use the teeny tiny fonts that someone who left their magnifying glass home will be unable to read.
  2. You will be have more room to add a section to each job experience entitled "Accomplishments" where you will be able to tell us why you excelled at your job rather than just doing it.
  3. You will have room to add a sentence about your volunteer and extracurricular activities, explaining what skills you gained from these experiences.
  4. You will have room to add a summary of your background, or list of key skills representing your talents at the top of your resume.
  5. You will have room to add things about you that might be interesting to an employer beyond your job, such as winning a ping-pong tournament. Please read my article titled "Being Interesting Counts" for solid evidence of that.

In the book, Resume Magic, author Susan Britton Whitcomb conducted a survey of HR managers from some of the "Top 100 Companies to Work for in America". Only 12% believed resumes should be one page whereas 67% said resumes should be one or two pages. The correct answers, in my opinion, were given by the 21% who said it should be  "as long as needed to convey the applicant's qualifications."

And my resume you ask? Not only did I break the one page rule, I shattered it. I have 15+ years of relevant work experience, a pile of speaking engagements, and loads of volunteer activities & memberships. My resume is filled with four pages of accomplishments that I am proud of which make me a well-qualified HR professional. I would never even try fitting my whole life story on one page.

Absolutely Abby’s Advice:
The answer to whether your particular resume should be one page is like many other things in life… it depends. If you have a handful of work experience and great accomplishments to communicate, don't feel that you must confine yourself to just one page. Quality is far more important than quantity.
 
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Drawn from my 18 years of experience and research in recruiting and Human Resources, my blog posts are intended to provide insight into what corporate recruiters and Human Resource professionals look for when they are evaluating your qualifications. Simply reading these blogs will not guarantee you success. However, consistently applying the strategies mentioned, as well as developing your own personal interview style, will greatly enhance your chances of victory amidst the competition. I wish you the best of luck with your search as you begin to take charge of your career!