Trying to fit in all the important career information into one 8.5×11″ document is no easy task. Still, the common job search lore goes that having a one-page resume is always the best way to go. Or is it? Let’s dig in together!
Should a Resume Be One Page Long?
The general conclusion is that yes, it’s best to file a one-page resume whenever you can if you are in the beginning/middle of your career.
But things are not absolutely black and white when it comes to resume length. Can a resume be more than one page? Again, yes.
No one will fret upon a two-page resume if you are a senior candidate with 10+ years of experience and multiple job posts under your belt — all relevant to the new job you are routing for.
Lengthier resumes are also fine for candidates with a wide set of technical skills, educational credentials, and industry accolades.
Lastly, if you are applying to a job abroad and get asked to file a CV, rather than a resume, it’s OK to go beyond a single page.
You can learn more about the ideal resume length from our previous post.
How to Fit Resume on One Page: Tips and Tricks
OK, so you are certain that you’ll do better with a one-page resume. Now the big question is: how do you fit all your professional deets into that single page without resorting to using an eight-point font or trying to cram a lot of text into the available white space?
After creating over 150 one-page resume templates, we can say with confidence that the next tricks will work like a charm!
1. Adjust Your Page Margins and Layout
Most people leave page margins at the pre-set default option of 1-inch in Microsoft Word when they start designing their resume.
But, you can actually trim this a few simple steps to have a bit more elbow room. Here’s how it’s done:
- Go to Layout > Margins
- Select either one of the pre-suggested configurations or add a custom range
NB: Don’t forget to test if your design looks good in other word processing software or when sent via email as an attachment!
As a rule of thumb, it’s OK to go with a half an inch margin, but not less. In this case, you will still have a defined white space edge and your resume won’t look really cramped together.
2. Merge Sections Together
Every great resume has at least three standard sections — header, work experience, and education. Plus, some optional ones such as Skills, Hobbies, and Interests, Accolodates, Resume Objective, Professional Bio, etc.
While all of them can play a role in hiring, they eat up some valuable space. After all, having multiple sections requires extra room for large headings.
So if you really need to cut down your resume to one page, aim for three or four distinct sections and combine the rest.
For example, you could combine your resume objective and professional bio or add accolades to the work experience section. Also, you can pack all the different things you want to mention, as short bullet-point highlights under an ‘Extra Information’ section.
Let’s take a look at one of our popular one-page resume templates — Contrast Resume Template.
It has 4 distinct sections you can use to your advantage:
- The sidebar area where you can place your professional bio or resume objective
- Skills sections that you can pack with keywords and popular skills that employers look for
- Header area you can use to leave your contact details, personal website, or squeeze in personal branding statements.
- Lofty work experience section that can be tweaked to fit more positions
- Minimalistic education section to list the essentials.
This design is also versatile enough to be further tweaked up to your liking. You can forgo the bio/objective in favor of an “Extra Information” section or place your contact details and short elevator pitch there to expand the Skills area.
3. Condense Information
Always look at ways of combining some of your information that may be important, but it doesn’t have a direct bearing on the job that you are applying for. For example, where you list your educational qualifications, instead of listing each qualification or achievement on a single line, condense them together and leave off any early or lower-level qualifications that an employer may not be interested in knowing about.
Treat your employment history in the same way. If you have created your work experience to read as your job title and company address in a block style with each part of the address on single lines, then you can free up some space by just putting your job title and company name on one single line and cut out the company address completely.
Even your own personal details can take a healthy trim. Many career experts recommend that you don’t include your home address on your resume just in case the employer judges candidate suitability depending on their location and proximity to the workplace. Simply including your name and contact number, email address, and LinkedIn profile.
4. Spring Clean for Redundancies
Don’t go about describing every job duty you had at every job listed — most will likely duplicate one-another. Instead, focus on listing one-two main accomplishments for each entry and sprinkle in some relevant hard and soft skills.
Take a look at our customer service resume example. Instead of going at length about every job, you can just write a one-line description and then provide a quick bullet point list of accomplishments/skills. So that your entry looks the following way:
Customer Service Specialist (April 2017 – March 2020)
Started in telephone customer support and quickly transitioned to web chat support. Assisted retail customers with concerns related to their orders, billing, shipping, and returns.
- Ranked highest in the European region for chat resolution speed.
- Employee of the Month (August, October, Dec)
- Zendesk, HubSpot Live Chat, and Salesforce proficient
5. Adjust Your Line Spacing And Font Size
Recruiters want to see resumes that are easy on the eye, so the need for your resume to have good line spacing is still important. However, you can maximize the space available by adjusting your line spacing to give you a little bit more room.
If you are using MS Word to create your resume, then you can manually change the line spacing between paragraphs and different sections. The default setting is actually quite generous, so even if you change it to shrink down the line spacing by half between paragraphs and sections, you will still get a defined visual space, but you can squeeze out an extra couple of free line spaces for more information by doing this.
While going as small as an 8-point font may mean certain eye-strain for a recruiter trying to read your resume, you can safely change to 10-point font and still leave your resume perfectly readable. It would be wise to leave your name at least at a 14-point font if not larger.
6. Trim Your Bullet Points
Bullet points are the key trick for fitting as much information as possible into a one-page resume. The key here, however, is to avoid writing full length, logically connected sentences.
Instead, think of your bullet point as a mini headline — short, catchy, and sufficiently communicating one key idea.
Here are some extra tips for writing powerful bullet points for your resume:
- Avoid complex, lengthy words (unless these are actual keywords)
- Keep your bullet point to one line to avoid space waste
- Aim for the same bullet point length to make your resume look neater
- Make your bullet points symmetrical i.e. always start with a verb or noun.
- Keep the bullet points thematically-related.
Here’s how we incorporated all of these tips in our hospitality resume example:
The Royal Suits, Downtown Miami (2018 – 2020)
Concierge and Guest Services Supervisor
Skills and accomplishments:
- Provided guest services to over 1,500 guests per month
- Organized personalized entertainment and shopping experiences
- Managed all the concierge services for VIP guests
- Brought in extra 20% via services upsells/cross-sells per month
- Maintained customer satisfaction rating of more than 98%
7. Don’t Fret About The Resume Length Too Much!
There is no harm in having two versions of your resume – one single page version and one longer multiple-page version. These can be very handy to keep on file for when an employer specifically asks you to submit one or the other. A lot of employers will initially ask for a one-page resume, and then follow that up with a request for a more detailed resume for when they are creating a shortlist for the job interview.
If you’ve tried all of the tips above and still didn’t arrive at the coveted one-page resume length, don’t sweat it any further. At the end of the day, it is your skills, qualifications, and past experiences that make the most difference! So go with a two-page resume or two versions of your resume, if you feel that a lengthy version will represent you better as a job candidate.
Finally, if you need some extra help, you can always browse our ever-growing collection of professional resume templates that are already optimized to pack a powerful punch within a single page!
This article has been originally published on April 30, 2018 and has been extensively revised and updated on November 12, 2020.