Early in our careers we were taught that a resume should be one page only – and at the beginning of a career that is an appropriate length. However, once you have some experience to display, the standard length of a resume is two pages.
There are a number of good reasons – other than that it is the expected length – including not overwhelming the potential reader. A longer resume is rarely read, it just seems like too much to plow through, particularly since there are lots of resumes to plow through.
The short length also forces you to be more direct and not put in fluff. Briefly stated accomplishments come across as a report of facts. A long story sounds more like bragging, and you know what your Mother said about that. One of the best ways to accomplish that brevity is through the use of sentence fragments instead of complete sentences.
So, how do you condense a whole career into two pages? Here are some tips.
(1) Starting at the top, split the header information. If you put your name (in bold) and your physical address on the left and the phone number(s) and email on the right, it will take three lines instead of six.
(2) Put the contact information on the second page in a header. That information, by the way should be your name, your email or phone and “Page 2”.
(3) Put less than a full double space between bullets. In Word you do that by clicking on “format” in the toolbar, then selecting “paragraph” from the drop down menu and clicking the up arrow once beside the box for “spacing before”.
(4) Only include relevant information. In other words, be selective based on who you are going to show the resume to. If you are going to give your resume to a hiring manager for one of the major political parties and you are active in local politics, your political activities should be on your resume, otherwise not. What you include will almost always be determined by the position your are interested in or the interests of your interviewer.
(5) Don’t include “References available upon request”. Everybody knows they are available and it just wastes valuable real estate.