Who says that resumes have to fit onto one page? The concept of the one page resume is a myth that has been around seemingly forever and has almost no validity. Those who dissent the most? Tech recruiters! Which makes no sense to me when it’s critical for IT candidates to list their programming languages, software competencies and other technical expertise ALONG with a substantive list of projects; this will undoubtedly result in a two page resume.
Now, there are resumes that organically fit onto one page; think recent graduates, or people with fairly uncomplicated careers. And as a rule, anything longer than 2 pages is too long! But for most mid-career professionals, trying to squeeze all their accomplishments and recent job history onto one page results in an unreadable, truncated mess.
I read this advice on Monster.com: “In the end, the length doesn’t matter quite as much as the content filling the pages. If you can capture your qualifications on one page, great. But if it takes two pages or more, that’s OK, too.”
With respect to job history, I don’t recommend going back more than 15 years for two reasons. For one, in most fields, work is conducted radically differently now than it was 15 years ago. For IT professionals, that’s a much shorter timeline. So to list jobs you held in the 1990s or even the early aughts means that you’re referencing is irrelevant. Secondly, if you list every job you ever held, you’re likely aging yourself and deep-sixing your candidacy.
But as the above mentioned article on Monster notes, there are [rare] times when going over two pages is acceptable:
“If you work for the federal government; you’re a senior-level manager with a long track record of accomplishments; or you’re writing an academic CV for a research or scientific position and have an extensive list of publications, speaking engagements, professional courses, licenses, or certifications; then you may need to extend your resume to three or more pages.”
So while a one page resume won’t serve you well in most cases, what you do include that causes the resume to flow onto a second page needs to have impact on the intended reader: the recruiter or hiring manager. That’s why I work with my clients to develop an accomplishment-based resume that resonates with their target employers.
Ignore the one page resume myth, and focus on articulating your value proposition to the companies you hope to work for.
To learn about how I work with my clients, read about my Process and Pricing.