- One-page resumes have typically been expected at job fairs, but that tradition seems to be falling by the wayside.
“Even the job fairs that claim to accept only one-page resumes seem to be more and more accepting of well-crafted two-page resumes,” says Cooper, “and the candidates that present them at those events often stand out above the crowd with simplistic or crammed one-page resumes.”
- Even among employers, there’s no consensus on preferred resume length.
Surveys show that employers who prefer a one-page resume are in the minority, and the situational view is prevalent, as writer Susan Britton Whitcomb discovered while researching her popular book, Resume Magic (JIST Works).
“I conducted a survey of HR managers from some of the Top 100 Companies to Work for in America (from the book of the same name by Levering and Moskowitz),” Whitcomb relates. “One survey question asked their opinions as to the length of a resume.” The results revealed that 12 percent of respondents felt resumes should be “one-page, never longer;” 67 percent felt resumes should be “kept to one or two pages;” and 21 percent responded “as long as needed to convey the applicant’s qualifications.”
Resume writer Tracy Laswell Williams found similar results in her December 1999 survey of 40 HR managers and recruiters in Colorado. Twenty percent of Williams’ respondents said a resume should be one page; 20 percent said two pages; and a whopping 60 percent said resume length “depends on the level of the position.”
- No matter what the length, the resume must capture attention on the first page, preferably the first third of the first page.
Given the speed with which employers screen resumes, a resume must quickly capture the reader’s interest. “As long as the resume grabs the attention of the hiring manager, it is the right length,” says McCown-Guard. “Whatever the length of the resume, the critical factor is to make absolutely certain that your reader’s interest is piqued within the first half of the first page,” cautions Laurie J. Smith, president of Creative Keystrokes Executive Resume Service.