How many pages should your resume be? Here’s the science

<em>Photo: Getty</em>
Photo: Getty
  • Recruiters are 2.3 more likely to prefer two-page resumes to one-page resumes

  • They also feel two-page resumes do better at summarising a candidate’s skills

  • Recruiters spend nearly twice as long reading two-page resumes

Conventional wisdom says that compacting your professional experience into a one-page CV is ideal.

But new research from ResumeGo has blown this out of the water: recruiters are actually nearly 2.3 times more likely to prefer two-page resumes over one-page resumes.

In fact, the more senior the vacant position, the more that recruiters seemed to prefer two-pagers.

<em>Source: ResumeGo</em>
Source: ResumeGo

Hiring professionals were 1.4 times more likely to consider two-page resumes for entry-level roles, 2.6 times more likely to mid-level roles, and 2.9 times more likely to look at two-page resumes for managerial-level roles.

“While the overwhelming majority of career experts argue that a two-page resume should never be used unless a job seeker has many years of full-time work experience at multiple companies, our results contradict this piece of conventional wisdom,” said ResumeGo co-founder Peter Yang.

“Study participants were clearly impressed by the sheer amount of information that can be conveyed on two-page resumes, as our one-page and two-page resumes were designed to showcase similar levels of work experience, academic achievement, and overall credentials.”

Two-page resumes do the job better

Study participants were asked to score resumes from 0 to 10 based on how well the resume summarised the candidate’s work experience and credentials.

Again, two-page resumes performed 21 per cent better, scoring an average of 8.6 while one-pagers received a score of 7.1.

<em>Source: ResumeGo</em>
Source: ResumeGo

“These results indicate that the extra information contained on two-page resumes helped participants in their decision-making and cast a positive light on the job candidates – even when it came to entry-level job openings, though to a lesser degree,” Yang said.

Recruiters spend longer reading longer resumes

The study also revealed that hiring managers spent nearly two times longer looking at two-page resumes.

It’s also shown the belief that ‘recruiters spending only a few seconds on each resume’ is a myth: on average, study participants spent 2 minutes and 24 seconds on one-page resumes and nearly twice as long – 4 minutes and 5 seconds – on two-page resumes.

“These results show that recruiters do indeed spend more time reviewing lengthier resumes instead of simply skimming over the content, which might help explain why two-page resumes are usually preferred over one-page resumes.”

Yang said that the study results busted the myth that two-page resumes were likely to be skipped over.

“Contrary to the common belief that resumes should be no more than one page in length, the results of the study suggest that recruiters actually prefer two-page resumes over one-page resumes on average,” he said.

“It’s possible that this preference is unbeknownst to the recruiters themselves, who may be unaware of their own tendency of favouring longer resumes.”

There you have it: the next time you edit your resume for that job opening, don’t be afraid to spend a bit longer showing off your skills and experience.

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