I have a lot of trouble getting my resume down to a single page, and not have to drop a bunch of old jobs. I saw this article today and wonder if there is any wiggle room on the MT edict of "one page only"?

xcelerator's picture
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Manager Tools does a phenomenal job with their resume service. If you haven't listened to all the resume casts yet -- do it. If you're struggling, fork over the $$ to have Wendii look at the resume and provide actionable critique.

I review resumes of entry level engineers up through directors and executives reporting to me. My biggest complaint is that the person wants to tell a story of what their TASKS were. I want to know what their RESULTS were. Quantified. Summarized. Succinct. Tailored to reflect the results that are important for the role they wish to apply for. This is a very, very important skill. If you have it, you place yourself head and shoulders above your competition. Describing tasks won't do that for you. Relating quantifiable results will.

My opinion ... spend the small change on the MT resume service. You will not regret it.

- D

mkirk's picture
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I've paid Wendii to review my CV and it is well worth the money, I also recommend the service.

As regards one pagers - if you have a really, really good reason to go to two, then fine. But look hard at the reason: a 'prettier' CV is not a good reason.  More white space is not a good reason. Bigger font is not a good reason. 'I've got lots I want to tell them' is not a good reason.

A one page CV with only relevant, accurate, detailed accomplishments that relate to the job in question, alongside a clear, thoughtful cover letter, will be so much better than most applications that you will not need a second page. Spend your time on the content of your one pager and cover letter from the recruiters viewpoint, not on filling two or more pages.


TomW's picture
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Just finding an article that says something is not a challenge on the internet today. I can find several articles that claim every US president for the last 20 years has been an alien (though the exact number of years seems to be in question). The trick is finding articles that are any good.

There are a few major reasons for a 1-page resume:

  • More length = more time to read. That extra time had better make the recrutier think "Wow, lots of great stuff" and not "How long until lunch?"
  • More pages = having to keep them together if the recipient prints them
  • More positions = questions in the recruiter's mind about why you moved around so much
  • The later pages are less useful anyway (they are things that happened a long time ago)
  • The second page is almost never full. Do you want 1/2 of a page of white space?

Now it's possible that you're Bill Gates and it takes two pages to list your one job and your 58 major accomplishments in it, which have to spill onto a second page. But it's not likely.

toddw's picture

I did buy the Interviewing series and have had my resume reviewed by Wendii. It's been on the back burner for some time but I continue to occasionally troll for advice, hence the link to the "forget the one page rule" article. I was interested to see if anybody else had an opinion on it, and apparently the opinion is "stick to the rule".


tplummer's picture

As a hiring manager for many years, I can't see a reason to go to 2 pages. Although we want the resume to be a detailed biography expounding on pages of details, the reality is the resume is read and decided upon in 10 seconds. I don't read every line. I quickly scan for relevant info. I decide if this person is a maybe and then put it in the maybe pile. Then I spend a bit more time (30 seconds) and decide if I'm going to interview them. During the interview which is usually an hour, I ask a mix of technical and behavioral questions. I might ask about 1 or 2 things on the actual resume. Instead at that point I'm keying in on their experience and if it's a fit for my position. Given all this, a 1 page resume should contain all the impactful statements you need. If you need 2 pages, then there's probably too much fluff and not enough meat.

Nik's picture

 Don't forget the cover letter. Remember, it's another succinct list of why you're right for the job. The resume is just your supporting document "proving" that you've already done a similar enough job to be good at the one you're applying for.

Of course, I have a two page resume. It's my design background, I can't take the cramped bulleted look.

afmoffa's picture

No rule is hard and fast other than the Golden Rule. My guess is that Mark, Mike, and Wendii offer advice that is right for 80% of their audience. (That's quite a batting average!) So there's an 80% chance the one-page rule applies to you.

If you told me there was an 80% chance a police car was waiting around the next curve, I'd make sure I drove under the speed limit.

If your career path has been reasonably linear (widget maker -> widget foreman -> widget manager), then I think you're safe to trim down your job as a "widget maker" if that will help you get to one page. You might--might--not even mention it at all if it was a long time ago. If your career path has been a bit roundabout (widget maker -> gizmo sales -> law school -> widget attorney), then it gets trickier. I'd hesitate to give general advice, since roundabout careers are, by definition, harder to explain on a one-page resume.

My career has been very roundabout. After college, I had six jobs in five years, in four different industries. They're on my Career-Management Document, but most iterations of my one-page resume omit those jobs entirely and focus on what I've done in the past five years. That works for me and my career, but it might not work for yours.


derosier's picture
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I can tell you one thing: before changing my resume to the MT format, my old resume got me a response approximately 3% of the time I sent it out.  After changing it to the MT format, I get something like a 60% response rate. (I'm high-C so yes, I track these things).  The MT format works.  Until my last job, I went to extreme lengths to keep it trimmed to 1 page.

With this last search, I did break down and let it (sometimes) flow to two pages.  Fact is with 10 positions over 15 years, and needing to keep certain terms and key-words as I work in technology, it is hard for me to trim too much.  Likely M&M and Wendi would point to more I could trim, but with the variation in technologies that I have to keep in there for my career I feel I need them.  I don't feel like my response rate has dropped after doing this, but then again, I bet that most managers aren't looking at my second page more than looking to see my education line.

So, yes, I believe 100% in the MT format and the 1-page rule. But like many, I occasionally find a rationale to violate it. :)

PS. Funny aside-I once went into an interview with a recruiter.  This is a common commission based tech firm in our area that hires out contract as well as does direct placement. She was clearly fairly green.  She asked a number of good questions, but I ended up having to explain the technology parts of her client's job description to her.  Anyway, towards the end of interview she decides to tell me how I should reformat my resume in order to get more impact and response: all of the standard "advice" that M&M rail against.  "Thank you for your input, I'll consider that carefully," I said as I walked out.  As I walked to my car, I thought about it: "Hm, well the format can't be as bad as you think. It was effective to get me in here to talk with you."