When Should I Write a Two-Page Resume?
The general expectation from employers is that resumes will be one page long.
However, this is only true for certain sects of the workforce.
There are occasions when a two-page resume may be preferable.
Here is a breakdown of the acceptable reasons for using a two-page resume:
- Curriculum Vitae: Scientific and academic fields often require long-form resumes called Curriculum Vitaes.
- Federal Employment: Federal jobs require in-depth job histories, making a longer resume necessary.
- Certifications: Certain jobs require candidates to have many certifications and technical skills. A second page can serve as a space for listing these.
- Senior-Level: Senior-level or C-suite positions often prefer a two-page resume. These positions are competitive and candidates need to showcase as much as they can about themselves.
- Many Years Experience: Applicants sometimes have 10–15 years of experience in one industry. This longevity is often relayed through a two-page resume.
The key to deciding whether or not to use a two-page resume is examining what contents the second page would be filled with. When considering what length to choose, ask yourself the following questions:
- Is all the information provided relevant to the job?
- Are there application requirements that mandate you include two pages worth of information?
- Does the employer need an extensive breakdown of your work history?
- Are your competing candidates using two-page resumes?
When Should I NOT Write a Two-Page Resume?
Generally speaking, you want your resume to be as simple and concise as possible.
Unless you fit into one of the above-listed examples, you should probably try and stick to a one-page resume.
If you are applying to the following positions, we recommend using a one-page resume:
- Entry-level corporate positions
- Restaurant and service industry
- Contracting or construction
- Part-time positions
Basically, you should use a one-page resume for any job that does not require an extensive work history section.
The reasoning behind this is that most hiring managers will have many applications and resumes to comb through.
The ones that stand out will be those with clearly labeled sections and easy-to-skim information.
With a two-page resume, there is a lot more information for a hiring manager to look through.
Unless this is what they have specifically requested, this will likely be a turn-off to employers.
Pros and Cons of the Two-Page Resume
Now that we have covered when and when not to use a two-page resume, let’s discuss the pros and cons of each.
The right and wrong times to use a two-page resume may seem pretty cut and dry.
However, it is still a good idea to consider the potential usefulness of having a two-pager on hand.
Here are 3 pros and 3 cons to using the two-page resume:
- A two-page resume has more visual space to work with, allowing you to avoid cramming too much information into a small area.
- Two-pages resumes give seasoned workers the chance to showcase their extensive work history.
- For applicants with many certifications, awards, or achievements, a two-page resume provides the space to show these off.
- Two-page resumes can very easily lose the attention of the hiring manager if that is not the format they were looking for.
- Two-page resumes can become repetitive quickly, making it apparent that the applicant did not take the time to trim it down into one concise page. This can even come off as laziness to some employers.
- Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) may omit resumes using a multi-page format. This inhibits the resume from making it into the hands of the actual hiring manager.
Do I Have a Higher Chance of Getting Hired with a One-Page Resume?
When it comes to how the length of your resume will affect your chances of getting hired, it ultimately depends on the job.
Every job application you complete will be slightly different than the last.
That means it is important to read job descriptions thoroughly and look for key details to help you along the way.
It is crucial to always analyze what the employer is looking for and what kind of resume will be most effective.
Here are a few use-case examples to help you determine which length resume to choose:
Example 1: You are applying at a company for an entry-level consulting position:
Incorrect: Submitting a two-page resume to this position would likely not work in your favor.
Why It’s Wrong: There will always be high levels of competition for entry-level positions. This means you will want to convey the most important information about yourself as concisely as possible.
Correct: A one-page resume suits this application much better. In this case, you want to showcase your most relevant and best qualities to get your foot in the door and land an interview!
Example 2: You are applying to a senior-level position in an industry you have worked in for 10+ years
Incorrect: Submitting a one-page resume will not help you to stand out from the competition.
Why It’s Wrong: If you are applying for a senior-level position with 10+ years of experience under your belt, you want to showcase that! Employers looking to fill high-level positions will take a lot more time to read and analyze your resume, so don’t be shy with the details.
Correct: Use a two-page resume to showcase your experience, promotions, achievements, and awards!
Should the Length of My Resume be Different Depending on the Job?
Short answer? Yes!
Every time you submit a resume to a new job application, it is key to tailor that resume for the specific job.
This will show employers that you have paid attention to what they are asking for in your application.
It will also relay that you took the time and effort to make the resume showcase your potential for the job they are offering.
Want more tips on how to make your resume stand out to specific employers? Check out our guide on how to Tailor Your Resume to Any Job in 4 Easy Steps.
How Do You Format a Two-Page Resume?
When formatting a two-page resume, it is not too different from formatting a one-pager.
With each format, you will want to focus on the following 3 factors:
- Relevancy: You always want to list your most relevant experience, qualifications, and achievements first. This is because this will be the first information a hiring manager sees and will ultimately create their first impression.
- Timeliness: When you have a lot of work experience to list, always list your most recent jobs first. Listing your work experience non-chronologically can become confusing and even misleading for the hiring manager.
- Longevity: For two-page resumes especially, showing longevity at a company is key. It shows your ability to commit to a single company and grow professionally over time.
The length of your resume is not the only formatting concern. If you need more help with your resume format, take a look at our guide on How to Choose the Correct Resume Format in 2021 (with Examples)!
What to Include on Each Page of a Two-Page Resume
Here is a breakdown of how to format your two-page resume:
What to Include on Both Pages
On every page of your resume, you should include:
- Your name
- Your contact information
- Your website or LinkedIn profile
Place both of these pieces of information in the top header of your resume. It should look similar to the following:
email@example.com | (123) 456-7890
janesmith.com | linkedin.com/in/jane-smith
It is also recommended to provide some kind of indicator that the resume is multiple pages. An easy way to achieve this is by including page numbers within the footer.
On page one, you should provide the following information:
- A professional summary listed directly below your name
- Your most recent and relevant work experience
- A brief section on your education (unless you are making a CV, in which case your education section should be in-depth)
- Relevant certifications or proficiencies
On your second page, you should omit your professional summary to save space but still include your name and contact info.
Generally speaking, if you are including a second page it should be dedicated to one of three things:
- An expanded work experience section
- Relevant certifications
- Awards and achievements
If you can only fill a second page up halfway, you should go back and edit it down to one page.
The two-page resume should be reserved for candidates who have many years of experience or many different awards and certifications.
Should I Write Both a One-Page and Two-Page Version of My Resume?
Writing multiple versions of your resume will always be helpful.
By writing a two-page version of your resume, you can include a lot more information than you would normally.
Even if you do not plan to submit a two-page version, having it on hand will help you to ensure you are including all the most important information.
Additionally, you should always tweak your resume for each new job you apply to.
Having a base resume to build off of is good, but you want your resume to be tailored for the specific job you are seeking.
This will not only help your resume to pass ATS inspections but will also show hiring managers that you are paying attention to keywords and desired qualifications.
Still feeling unclear about the optimal length for your resume? Read our guide How Long Should A Resume Be in 2021? (With Tips to Fit on One Page)!
General Tips for Creating a Multi-Page Resume
When creating a multi-page resume, keep the following tips in mind:
- Stay Concise: Just because you are using multiple pages doesn’t mean you should become extra descriptive or wordy. Your descriptions and sections should still be as concise as possible to make the resume easy to skim for the hiring manager.
- Keep Formatting Consistent: You want to avoid making major formatting changes between pages. Keep your font, type size, headers, and margins consistent across the board. If your work experience section is spread across both pages, make sure you are keeping each entry formatted the same as well.
- Include Contact Information on Every Page: In the event, one page is separated from the other, you need to have your name and contact information available on both pages.
- Focus on Your Last 10-15 Years: When you are including many years of work experience, you want to stay within the last 10-15 years. Experience beyond that is often considered too far in the past to still be relevant by most employers. Remember – always keep timeliness and relevance in mind when listing your work experience!
- Don’t Double-Side It: For printed copies of your resume, do not print it double-sided. Print a two-page resume on two separate pages and either staple or paper clip them together. Printing a resume double-sided can make it feel congested. Plus, one side may show through to the other!
Whether or not to use a two-page resume can be confusing to job applicants.
The key when choosing between a one- or two-page resume is to ask yourself: is all this information truly necessary?
Remember these 3 key takeaways about the two-page resume:
- Edit, Edit, Edit: If you cannot confidently fill two pages, then you need to edit it down to one. Always take the time to edit your resume and cut down on unnecessary words and phrases.
- Find Your Keywords: Two-page resumes are a great time to whip out some keywords. Don’t get too repetitive with these and make sure to search the job description for the keywords the employer is looking for!
- Save the Two-Page for the C-Suite: Only use a two-page resume when you are applying to a management or C-Suite level job. The other acceptable use of a multi-page resume is when you are creating a CV for a scientific or academic position.
For more help making your resume as effective as possible, read our guide on How to Write the Perfect Resume in 2021 (with Examples).