Question: Is it acceptable to have a resume that is more than one page? –Breyon B., Chicago
Answer: When jobseeking, the inevitable question springs up: how long does a resume have to be? The time honored standard has been one page on an 8.5in x 11in sheet of paper. Contrary to popular belief, that’s not a hard and fast rule in the job seeking game. Some considerations when embarking on your own resume endeavor—no matter if you’re starting from scratch or looking to cut down on a manuscript of your job responsibilities!
First off, we’re discussing resumes and not C.V.s, which are generally academic focused and are often much longer to expand on one’s experience (often for scholarly purposes).
Now that that’s out of the way, some considerations:
The one page “rule” does have its merits—for one, it encourages you to be clear and concise in your writing, which is critical in almost any role. I would suggest keeping your resume as close to one page as possible unless you have considerate (read: 7-10+) years of experience. Even then, 2 pages is a good limit to strive for.
With that in mind, it’s important to remember to tailor the resume to the position. This will help with brevity if you find that your resume is going far over the page limit (by cutting out what isn’t pertinent to the role).
Nixing the “objective” for a summary statement at the top of your resume is a quick and easy way to stand out and highlight your background and skills without using a stodgy and dated objective statement the hiring manager has likely read before.
Of course, none of this will do you any favors if the resume is too busy or the font too small, so make sure the document is visually pleasing (no overpowering graphics or flowery fonts) andfree of spelling and grammatical errors.
You’ll find lots of articles about resumes—how to write them, format them so they get seen, and how many pages (or not) they should be. Checking them out is a good way to get a general feel for what’s expected, but ultimately, the focus should be on crafting a resume that’s sharp and informative—page count notwithstanding!
Nurys Harrigan-Pedersen is president of Careers In Nonprofits, the experts in nonprofit staffing and recruiting with offices in Chicago and Washington, D.C.