I used to think that a one page resume is always the goal. Fit it all on there, and if you can’t, cut something or use a smaller font. 

In the business world, however, there are times for a one page resume and times for a two pager.  Most recruiters generally like one better than the other, but since you don’t know who is reading your resume, here are a few general guidelines:

One Page:

Entry-level candidates – if you are right out of school, you probably don’t have a lot of experience to list.  And that’s fine. Make sure you do list your education and any technical skills. Remember, internships count as experience!

Transitioning candidates – if you have been working but are changing career paths, it’s okay to have a one page resume rather than filling up two pages with irrelevant work experience. However, you should take time think carefully about what skills you can transfer from your old career to your new one and use keywords relevant to your new career to describe those responsibilities. Think about every previous job before you decide not to list them.

Transitioning candidates can also benefit from using a “functional” resume rather than a chronological format. A functional resume focuses on your skills rather than your titles.

Two Page:

Experienced candidates – if you have five to ten years of experience, it’s likely you need two pages to list everything that is relevant to your job search. It’s okay to leave plenty of white space – as it makes your resume easier to read.  However, be sure to use at least 75% of the second page if you go on to two pages.

When using two pages, you should have room for volunteer experience, awards and recognitions, professional affiliations and more bullet points for your job responsibilities and accomplishments.

Three Pages or More:

Unless you are a C-Level executive, three pages is too long. But if you are, go for it!

For what it’s worth, some recruiters and hiring managers never like to see a two page resume, no matter what your experience level, but since you can’t predict that, do what makes the most sense to you.

Wendy Stackhouse
, Consultant for Artisan Creative