(a) Somebody told you a resume has to be a single page, but you have more to say about yourself.
(b) It’s less than a page, probably because you’re fairly new to your career.
Let’s examine each of those situations.
Is a one-page resume too short to make your case?
A one-page resume makes a recruiter’s job easier, but will it get you an interview? If you have a lot to say about yourself, trying to say it all on one page may cost you more than it benefits you.
A one-page resume can be effective as long as:
- It clearly shows you have the qualifications listed in the posting.
- It’s keyword-optimized to perform well in applicant tracking systems.
- It shows, at a glance, that you are better than other candidates in ways that are relevant, exceptional and verifiable (factual–clearly not just your own opinion).
If you can do all that on one page, go for it. After writing that one-page resume, ask yourself:
- Have I crammed this onto one page by using a small font, narrow margins and minimal white space? Does the result look ugly and hard to read? If so, use two pages.
- If I were to make this a little longer, what would I most want to add? If that information would be likely to make a difference, use two pages.
Another approach is to experiment with one-page and longer versions, then seek useful resume feedback.
As a resume writer and resume coach, I’ve read results of employer surveys about what they want to see in a resume. Most hiring managers and recruiters are open to reading a resume of two pages, as long as it’s a well written, highly readable resume. Often they even prefer it.
Should a resume ever be longer than two pages? Usually not. The exceptions are for some senior executives and some (but not most) technical professionals. Academic CVs are also longer, since they typically include lists of publications, presentations and so on. (People often use the terms “CV” and “resume” interchangeably, but they’re not really the same.)
What if you’re new in your career and there just isn’t much to say?
If you have less than five years of relevant experience, a one-page resume is probably a good idea. Don’t use up your limited space with too-detailed descriptions of your job duties—especially for your earliest roles—but don’t skimp on mentioning your accomplishments. By “accomplishments,” I mean challenging projects you’ve completed, problems you’ve solved, and other ways you’ve made a difference.
If you’re short on work experience, remember that school projects, volunteer work and jobs outside of your target field can demonstrate transferable skills.
Read my post, 7 Surprising Things You Can Put on Your Resume.
So, is your resume too short?
Let me answer your question, “Is my resume too short?” with another question: Does it work? Good resume writing is not about following rules, but about convincing employers that they need to interview you. You do that by providing compelling evidence that you’re the best person for the job. If you don’t need two pages to do that, do it in one.