We all heard the advice.
“Stick your resume to just one page. Not any longer.”
The statement holds true in most of cases, and this became a golden rule of writing resumes. But does this golden rule has any exception? Would there be a case when resume of more than one page is better than keeping everything in one page?
To answer this question, we need to understand what is the origin behind this “one page resume” rule. Back in a day when printing in papers was the only option, a potential job seeker has printed out a bunch of 10 – 100 resumes and handed these to the employers from different companies. And this process is still dominant till today, particularly noticeable from on-campus career fairs around the universities. When a recruiter takes a hard copied resume from a potential candidate, the recruiter uses a pair of hands to hold the resume, to scan it quickly, and to put the resume on top of stacks of other candidates’ resumes. First time impression matters and, thus, a job candidate handing out multiple pages of paper resumes can appear unprofessional. A recruiter might judge “this person does not know how to organize and to edit writings properly” or “did he or she learned what is the some no-no’s for resume writing?” Furthermore, reading through resumes is likely a mundane task for the recruiters and then he or she perhaps forms a negative perception about the candidate because of this.
But a number of things have changed since the technology rapidly has advanced. Many job seekers apply for jobs through online and can post much information as possible about oneself’s professional experiences and job skills in LinkedIn. It is super easy and convenient to scan through LinkedIn type of social profile and many keywords help to identify the exact things that the companies are looking for. And when job seekers apply through online, the resume will be either in .txt file, a PDF file, or a Word file. The recruiters will less mind about the long descriptions in the electronic formation compared to the hard copy format due to easiness of scanning through. Professionalism still matters but less so if you have accomplished multiple feats in a given period so it will be worse to leave them out.
This brings back the question: when would the one page resume will not work? Supposedly, you are a proactive and a very skillful person who always goes beyond what is required from the work tasks. Imagine a same project task is given to two different people, but how fast one accomplishes it and how well and efficiently one accomplishes it will be different from a person to a person. So, even if two people have spent same one year at a company, one person can accomplish and learn great deals compared to other candidate. And besides the assigned work, a proactive candidate also invests the time to learn and to build something outside of work. So, when is the case when one page resume will not work? The answer is for a candidate who is proactive and has accomplished so many things in a short time.
Again, professionalism does matter. And depending on the professions, professionalism and business rules do matter more. But realize that the recruiters are also human beings just like the job seekers. Submitting a resume is the first step BEFORE actually getting the interview. In another word, the only existential purpose of a “resume” is “how to get that interview.” Try to maximize, to optimize, and to polish the resume to the point where it can land you a job interview. Yes, that is even if it means to write more than one page resume. Oh, by the way, be ware — it is still better to print out one page summary resume when you head to the actual interview.