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How Long Should a Resume Be? The Low-Down on 2-Page Resumes

Caroline BantonUpdated Nov 7, 20215 min

How Long Should a Resume Be? The Low-Down on 2-Page Resumes

Updated Nov 7, 20215 min
How Long Should a Resume Be? The Low-Down on 2-Page Resumes

How Long Should a Resume Be? The Low-Down on 2-Page Resumes

Caroline BantonUpdated Nov 7, 20215 min

How Long Should a Resume Be? The Low-Down on 2-Page Resumes

Updated Nov 7, 20215 min
How Long Should a Resume Be? The Low-Down on 2-Page Resumes

Seven and a half seconds. That’s how long recruiters spend screening a resume, according to a study by Ladders Inc. It might be enough time to wow the recruiter with a single page, but what about a two-page resume? Will the hiring manager look at the second page? What if the second page gets lost in the pile?

Submitting a two-page resume has its drawbacks and in most cases a one-pager is preferred. However, there are circumstances when a resume writer should consider a two-page resume as the better choice. This article will tell you what resume length is best to use when. Also, we’ll show you a two-page resume example that not only does the job, it gets you the job.

When You Should Use a Two-page Resume

There are really only two reasons a job-seeker should use a two-page resume. When all your experience counts, and when you can’t fit what you need to on one page.

1. When All Your Experience Counts

Someone with many years of experience might decide to write a two-page resume to include more of their past relevant work. But the operative word here is relevant.  In most cases, it is not a good idea to go back more than 10 years when explaining your work history in a job application.

Ageism is rife in recruiting, and some companies would rather hire younger candidates because they consider them more current. Also, the fact that they have less experience also means a company can pay them less.

Although you may feel that your accomplishments years ago are impressive, they will only be so to the employer if they relate to the target job. If they don’t, leave that job or bullet point off the resume. Look at the job description, do research to better understand what the employer is looking for, and don’t add any irrelevant information.

Two-page resumes are standard for graduate student resumes or people in academia. It is appropriate for academic professionals to show their years of study in a field because the more they know, the more value they can bring to an institution.

2. When You Can’t Fit Your Experience on One Page

If sticking to a one-page resume seems like it is short-changing your worth, use a second page. CNBC found that some recruiters actually prefer a two-page resume anyway. However, double-check that your resume formatting isn't longer just because you have included irrelevant work experience. If you have, the reader will quickly lose interest and probably discard your application. Only include the information that the hiring manager wants to see.

To do that, you need to carefully read the job description and only make sure that whatever you say about yourself corresponds to what the employer is looking for. If the employer wants a “client-focused self-starter for a sales position, include an accomplishment that speaks to that. For example, “initiated a client initiative that boosted conversions by 40%.”

Tailor your professional resume to the job ad and include similar phrases so that your resume will pass the applicant tracking systems screening.

Lastly, a two-page resume could be a better choice if you have substantial experience in any of the careers below.

  • Accountant

  • Artist

  • Business Analyst

  • Computer Science Manager

  • Data Analyst

  • Engineer

  • Executive

  • Financial Analyst

  • Marketing Manager

  • Office Manager

  • Project Manager

  • Sales Manager

Here's an example of a two-page resume (and you can download the template HERE):

2 page resume A2 page resume B

When You Should Not Use a Two-page Resume

There are also two scenarios for when you should NOT use a two-page resume. First, if you are early in your career, and second, if your resume is two pages but only half of the second page has content.

According to career experts, entry-level candidates, or those with less than five years' experience simply don’t have enough experience to warrant a longer document. Keep it short, and the hiring manager will thank you for being concise.

If your resume runs on to two pages, but the second page is only half full, cut it to one page. Here’s how to do it without losing the meat.

  • Write a short objective or career summary in the first page of your resume—three lines is fine.

  • Include only your most significant accomplishments, and cut anything that doesn’t fit this job opening.

  • Only include three to five bullet points for your current employer, and three for any employers before that.

  • Keep bullet points to one or two sentences and remove extra space.

  • Don’t include more than three employers or past jobs.

  • Reduce your margins, fonts, and line spacing, but don’t make your resume cluttered.

  • Take off your references.

  • Don’t include your street address, high school, and GPA. 

The Best Two-page Resume Format

If you have decided on a two-page resume, here are some features that the best two-page resumes share. These tips will maximize your resume’s impact and your chances of being short-listed.

Repeat Your Name and Contact Info on Page 2

This serves two purposes. First, your second page will not accidentally be put with another resume, and, two, your name and header acts like a brand logo that the reader will remember.

Keep Your Skills on the First Page

Your skills should be front and center so keep them on the first page. Don’t repeat them on the second page because that will frustrate the reader and perhaps negate the impact of your achievements.

Don't Repeat Your Resume Summary on Page Two

You might confuse the reader, and you will certainly slow them down. Only provide new, unseen information on page two.

Put Your Most Important Facts on Page 1

Place your objective summary, work experience, skills, and certifications on the first page. Additional work experience, publications, conferences, and additional material should appear on the second page.

Number Your Pages

Add page numbers, for example, “1/2” and “2/2,” so that the reader knows there is a second page.

When Is a Two-page Resume a CV?

A curriculum vitae (CV) should not be confused with your two-page or longer resume. A CV is a document that recounts your career, education, professional experience, and academic achievements in detail.

A CV is commonly used for job searches in academia for applications to graduate school or for senior academic positions, grants, scholarships, and fellowships. The elements of a CV are:

1. Contact Information

2. Research Objective or Personal Statement

3. Education

4. Professional Academic Appointments

5. Peer-Reviewed Publications

6. Awards and Honors

7. Grants and Fellowships

8. Conferences

9. Teaching Experience

10. Research Experience / Lab Experience

11. Non-Academic Activities

12. Other Publications

13. Languages and Skills

14. References

The elements of a resume are:

1. Contact Information

2. Objective Summary

3. Work History/Experience

4. Education

5. Technical Skills

6. Additional Information (Publications, Presentations, Awards)

Key Takeaways

Whether to use a 1-page resume or a two-page resume or not depends on the job you are applying for and the amount of relevant experience you want to include. Here’s a summary of the salient points to remember when resume writing:

  • Tailor your resume for each job that you apply to

  • Only include relevant experience and accomplishments

Both one and two-page resume templates can look good, one-and-a-half-page resumes do not.

Caroline Banton
Expert on career acceleration and business topics with vast experience writing for globally-recognized publications
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