Though it’s often assumed that two-page resumes are a no-go, there are some exceptions to this rule. If you experience warrants additional space, it’s recommended to include the information so you can snag a job worthy of your capabilities and talent.
However, it’s not enough to add on a few lines and call it a day. Formatting, phrasing, and organizing your two-page resume is vital to make it through the slush pile of applicants. Here, career experts and gurus share the most common mistakes professionals make when writing a two-page resume so you can avoid them:
Too much text
As with most things in life and in your career, it’s wise to focus on quality over quantity when mapping out your two-page resume content. When drafting, make sure you are focusing on your achievements by including numbers or percentages that illustrate your effectiveness, Joanie Stofanak, the director of talent acquisition at Gympass recommends. “It will help distinguish your work more and help you stand out as a candidate,” she adds.
No use of white space
Though your career experience and history matters, if your resume is overwhelming to look at because it’s text — and only text — a recruiter will pass right over it. In fact, unused resume real estate is a big proponent of helping content to be easily found, according to AJ Volmoeller, the founder of Future Force Staffing & Career Services.
While you don’t want to leave huge margins and big spaces between jobs and sections, a simple eight-point blank line between companies and resume sections is ideal. “It makes a significant difference and really makes a resume read and flow much better,” he continues. “If the content that is directly related to the job description can’t easily be found, there’s a good chance your resume will be discarded.”
Maybe there’s a dream job that you know you can do, but it’s perhaps, a bit above your experience level. While you should definitely apply, it’s important not to lie and exaggerate your expertise so your resume is longer and more impressive. Career guru Donna Cornell says it’s one of the most significant mistakes professionals make because they believe it will result in a higher-level position and more compensation.
However, it usually backfires. “In today’s internet information age, fibbing is a big mistake, and you can quickly be labeled as dishonest,” she continues. “Be clear and concise on what experience you do have and compliment that information with other attributes you bring to the job.”
Including irrelevant experience
Think critically about where you are in your career when deciding what information to include on your resume. Once you’ve in your industry for several years, some of your older experience is no longer necessary on your resume. As an example, Stofanak says internships or entry-level jobs can be omitted to make space for other impressive accolades from your most current positions.
The same goes for your education. Once you have experience under your belt, you no longer need the date you started your degree or organizations you were part of during your tenure. “Simplifying details such as these will help reduce the amount of text and help clean up the page a bit more,” she notes.
Too small font size
Sometimes, applicants will condense the font to an unreadable size just to fit everything onto two pages. Rather than forcing a recruiter to use a magnifying glass to read your resume, Vollmoeller recommends editing your content to be more concise so you can ensure it’s appealing to the eyes — and so you don’t lose the interest of a recruiter.
“This is especially frustrating for the resume reviewer because not only are they trying to find the relevant information from within a very busy resume because it’s compacted together, but also trying to read a small point font after staring at a computer reading resumes all day to begin with,” he shares. “Personally, I would much rather see a 2.25 or 2.5-page resume than have to strain my eyes on a compacted two-page version.”
Too many bullet points
Remember: in your efforts to make your resume easy-to-comprehend, there is a fine line between helpful bullet points and overkill. “People think that two pages for a resume require 10 to 20 bullet points of details for a position where they provide a laundry list of each task, responsibility, or function they held,” career expert Wendi Weiner says.
Instead, she recommends providing four to five bullet points detailing results, achievements, contributions, and accomplishments that hone in on your unique value, aptitude, and deliverables to the organization. “The key is to provide talking points for expansion on an interview. You want to be selective in what you disclose and focus on the main points that can really drive your value,” she adds.
While a two-page resume is an acceptable length for professionals of all levels, job seekers should only opt for this length if they have enough information to warrant a second page, urges Amanda Augustine, career expert for TopResume. If you have to add all sorts of unnecessary information so your resume is longer, you probably should cut back instead.
“Avoid the temptation to add extra information to your resume — think hobbies that aren’t unique or support your job goals; personal details such as birthdate, marital status, and religion; or a photo of yourself — to bulk up its length,” she continues. “Your resume will be more impactful when it succinctly presents your career narrative and offers proof of your qualifications in a single page, rather than a longer, drawn-out document that offers details that aren’t relevant to your current job search.”