Maybe a Two-Page Résumé is Okay After All

We normally advocate for a one-page résumé, and for good reason: hiring managers report they prefer them. But a new survey shows a two-page rundown of your work history and accomplishments might be okay, too.

Résumé writing service ResumeGo recently conducted a survey of “recruiters, hiring managers, human resources professionals, or C-Suite level executives.” The study, which had 482 respondents over a week-long period, took place at the end of October 2018.

Overall, these hiring experts preferred two-page résumés 2.3 times more than one-page documents: “According to the study results, out of the 7,712 résumés that participants chose in the simulated hiring process, a whopping 5,375 of these résumés were two pages in length.”

Curiously, this finding is indiscriminate with regard to job titles and experience levels:

  • Respondents preferred a two-page résumé for entry level jobs 1.4 times as often as one-page résumés.
  • Recruiters and hiring managers examining résumés for mid-level jobs preferred longer documents 2.6 times more often.
  • Two-page résumés for managerial roles saw 2.9 times more interest.

Another interesting finding: Recruiters and hiring managers are actually reading the long résumés! Current wisdom suggests longer résumés get the same cursory scan as shorter ones, but this study found recruiters spent almost twice as much time reading two-page résumés. You may think “obviously,” but the underlying takeaway is they’re actually taking the time to read longer résumés thoroughly.

The study asked participants to rank both one- and two-page résumés on a scale of 1-10. Overall, the two-page résumé scored higher, with an average score of 8.6, while one-page documents scored 7.1. (For those keeping score at home, this is a 21 percent increase.)

Via this scoring system, we can start to distinguish when it might be right to use a two-page résumé. Two-page résumés scored 7.7, while a single-page CV scored 7.0, for an entry-level job. Mid- and senior-level jobs saw a much higher lean toward two-page documents, which is logical: A hiring manager will want to see the full breadth of your knowledge and skills.

We will also note that ‘longer’ doesn’t always have to mean ‘wordier.’ Formatting and framing your skill-set properly will distinguish you from the crowd, no matter how many pages your résumé is.

One Response to “Maybe a Two-Page Résumé is Okay After All”

  1. James Igoe

    It really depends. Being in tech, and aware of the absurd lengths of some tech resumes, two pages are fine, as long as the first page starts with a summary and succinct list of current skills. If the resume is simply chronological, then they will tire of having to decipher one’s abilities. The oft-repeated rule is that recruiters and managers spend 10 to 20 seconds scanning your resume, and you want anything relevant to be first and easy to digest. Although I have leadership skills and years in tech I get hired for a limited set of technical skills and usually my last role. My summary, skills and last employer, of 5 years, would fit on one page.

    Sincerely, I have tried to trim down a resume down to one page, and it is almost impossible since I’d leave off almost anything that I think would pitch me to the client. Even then, the recommendation is to limit it to 0 years, which I do, although I have been working in my field for 15, and in tech for 25. Part of the need to detail is driven by the need to avoid misunderstanding since recruiters often understand little of what they are searching for. I usually have to tell them whether the requirement fits my background.