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Advice / Job Search / Resumes

Can a Resume Be Two Pages? Your 2024 Guide

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We’ve all been there. You’re up late one night scrolling through job boards, and amidst the travel ads, the perfect job opportunity appears. You can almost hear the heavenly hosts cheering you on as you rush to update your resume. But before you add your latest and greatest skills and accomplishments, your brain interrupts with the job seeker debate: Can a resume be 2 pages? The answer is, it’s all subjective.

Google this topic and you’ll get 100 different sources with 400 different pieces of advice. The truth is, we’ve been conditioned by the old-school tradition of the one-page resume. But the current digital age (where resumes aren't always submitted on paper anyway!) has blazed a trail of new opinions.

That said, there are a few good rules of thumb to consider when deciding if a +1 should accompany your resume. Here's everything you need to know. 

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When can a resume be 2 pages?

A single-page resume is the standard in most industries. However, there are some situations when writing a two-page resume is not only acceptable but also recommended. Senior-level candidates might find it challenging to fit all their relevant professional experience into a single page without making the resume look a little squeezed.

Below, you'll find a list of situations where it's OK to break the only-one-page rule.

If the quantity equals quality

Learn to recognize when compromising the quantity of your experiences will impact the quality of your employment story. If you have enough relevant experience, training, and credentials pertaining to the position to showcase on more than one page of your resume, then go for it.

Note: This doesn’t mean you detail all your accomplishments since your high school babysitting job. It also doesn’t mean listing every college course you've taken and certification you've earned.

When it helps telling your story

As a recruiter, I can tell you, if I’m going to read a resume that’s more than one page, it better tell a good story about what you bring to the table. Listing every task you did as a manager doesn't make you a good manager. But if you tell me that you increased productivity by 25% or highlight process changes for multiple teams at several companies—you're justifying that space.

If you can succinctly quantify your accomplishments to tell how you made a role, job, project, or assignment better and you need more than one page to demonstrate it effectively, that’s time (and space) well spent.

If simply couldn't fit all in one page

Your content is impeccable. You’ve edited, downsized fonts, tweaked margins, and finagled text boxes to abide by the one-page golden rule. But unfortunately, space is no longer on your side.

Once you get to this stage, it’s fine to go ahead and supersize your resume to more than one page. Trust me, you will not be cast away to the Island of Misfit Resumes.

Honestly, the hiring manager will grant you extra brownie points for not assaulting their eyesight with eight-point fonts or instigating what I call the eyeball cha-cha—where your eyes have to dance all over the page to find information you need.

When your resume is looking squeezed

You've exhausted all formatting options, and although your resume finally fits in one page, it still looks cramped and cluttered. In such cases, it's better to extend it to a second page.

If employers have the impression you can’t organize your thoughts effectively on paper, they may second-guess how you’ll perform in the role. Better to be safe than sorry and spread your wealth of experience to a second page.

When not to use a 2-page resume

In certain situations, going for a two-page resume is not the best move. Rather than showcasing your skills and experience effectively, it might give the impression to recruiters that you lack attention to detail and have a hard time prioritizing. Here's when you should avoid it:

When the extra information is irrelevant

Picture this: You're not an entry-level candidate, but you're not quite a seasoned pro yet either. As you try to fill up your resume, you start cramming in all your certifications, skills, and experience. Mid-career job seekers often fall into this trap, adding too much irrelevant information to their resumes.

Be mindful of that. As you evolve in your career, you'll find that things that were once relevant on your resume aren't anymore. For example, if you've been in the same field for a few years or are changing careers, there's no need to list every duty for every position. Focus on relevant experience and accomplishments for that specific role and you'll see that one page is enough.

If the second page has only a few lines

If the text on the second page is only one or two lines, you may want to consider reformatting and sticking to the one-page rule. Otherwise, don’t be overly concerned about the extra space on the second page. Recruiters have short attention spans and won’t want to scan more information than they have to.

But if you feel compelled to fill that space, be strategic and make sure the information is relevant. If you haven’t already done so, add information on your leadership, organizations, volunteer work, hobbies, or sports activities. This will show employers you have a life outside of work and give some insight into your personality.

Also keep in mind that this information doesn’t have to be in text format. I’ve seen some great resumes recently that have outlined these items using pie charts, timelines, and graphs. Just remember these fancy formats don’t always translate well when applying online and can wind up a jumbled mass of code. (Here's how to create a killer infographic resume, in case you were wondering.)

How to write a two-page resume in 3 steps

If you find yourself needing to write a two-page resume, that's OK. You can make it work. Just check out these tips and tricks:

1. Pay close attention to the header

If you plan to print your resume, don't forget the two-page-resume header. It's a good idea to include your name and contact information at the top of both pages, just in case it gets mixed up with other resumes. But if you're submitting your resume online as a PDF, this may not be necessary, as the two pages will likely stay together in one file.

2. Make sure your resume is ATS-friendly

No matter how many pages long is your resume; it should be ATS-friendly. If you're not familiar with the term yet, ATS stands for applicant tracking system, which it's a software used by companies to scan resumes and identify the most suitable candidates for a particular position.

The ATS operates by searching for specific terms or keywords that match the job description and requirements. Both pages of your resume should include those keywords.

For example, if the job description mentions critical thinking skills and knowledge in HTML, CSS, and Javascript, you could use these terms in your skills or summary section. (This is how you read a job description the right way.)

3. Don't forget the typical resume sections

When crafting a two-page resume, it's easy to focus only on adding all your work experience and relevant accomplishments and end up overlooking other important sections. To avoid that, here's a check list of sections to put on your resume:

  • Header with your name, phone number, email address, and LinkedIn
  • Summary
  • Work experience
  • Education
  • Skills
  • Languages (if applicable)
  • Certifications (if applicable)
  • Awards and recognition (if applicable)

Prefere a more visual approach? Check out these 40 resume templates to find 2-page resume examples that will work for you.

2-page resume: FAQs

Still have questions about two-page resumes or the ideal resume length? We've compiled a Q&A with frequently asked questions about this topic:

1. Do employers care if your resume is 2 pages?

Most employers won't complain about a 2-page resume as long as it contains relevant information for the role. In fact, in certain industries, such as academia, science, medicine, and research, resumes with two pages are expected because candidates have to list published work, awards, and recognitions, besides the usual resume sections.

2. Is 2 pages too long for a resume?

Not necessarily. In the digital application world, size doesn’t really matter. As long as you tell a compelling story about your employment history that’s easy on the eyes, your page breaks will be forgiven. However, if you're adding too much irrelevant information that doesn't relate to the specific position, it's best to make it one page only.

3. If my resume is 2 pages, should I print it double-sided?

No, it should be printed on two pages. Most recruiters won't bother flipping to the back of your resume, which might give the impression there's information missing. Keep in mind that recruiters often scan resumes quickly, so the more accessible and visible your information is, the better.

4. Can a resume be longer than 2 pages?

Submitting a resume longer than two pages is not recommended, unless you're in a specific industry that requires a lengthy and detailed resume. If not, it's better to stick to the one to two pages standard. For senior-level candidates, a good strategy to reduce excess information is to include only experiences from the past five to ten years.