I say it often, but it is always worth repeating: regardless of your level of experience, the goal of a resume is to establish qualifications, pique interest and create some curiosity gaps – those questions that make readers want to learn more via an interview. In almost every case, a page or two is enough to accomplish that goal. That leaves the question of when is one page appropriate and when should you expand your resume to two pages. The answer to that question might surprise you.
While these are just guidelines, the general premises can be applied to almost everyone.
In the beginning – When you are just starting out, a one-page resume is probably in order. You’ve got little relevant experience, possibly some education and hopefully a lot of promise. At this point in the game, one page is almost always enough to outline your limited experience and communicate how you plan to make a positive impact.
Climbing the ranks – After you have some solid, relevant experience under your belt, a two-page resume starts to make good sense. You’ve likely got several years of experience and multiple relevant positions. You also likely have quite a few bona fide accomplishments. Two pages provide ample room to list your multiple roles and your wealth of accomplishments. This is the time in your career to lay it all out on the table.
At the top of your career – Many of the executives I work with are shocked to hear me suggest a one-page resume despite their extensive experience. At this level though, it is more likely that the foundational and formational experiences can be omitted. Also, it is less likely that you will need to “sell” your position and instead can let your title and scope of influence imply previous experience.
People and careers are dynamic, so these suggestions may not apply to you. However, consider the underlying themes here and help them guide your decision about how long your resume should be.