An old friend with more than 10 years in nursing needed to create a new resume because she wants to find another job.  Having worked at several hospitals, in a number of specialized areas, she has a wealth of experience and accomplishments to convey to the medical professionals who could employ her.  Not wanting to bother me, she initially sought the help of the folks at her local Employment Development office.  Having gone to their office right as they opened, she was able to see an employment rep and they began work on her document.
After a second meeting at the employment office, she became frustrated because she was unable to see the same rep again, and the next person she met with contradicted some of the instructions provided by first person she saw, particularly about the length of her resume.  Concerned that things weren’t coming together as she’d hoped, she called and asked for my help.
If you, or anyone you know has recently sought help from a local employment office, this is a common lament.  Despite a reduction in the unemployment rate, the folks at these offices all over the country are very busy and are working with dwindling resources to help job seekers in an optimal fashion.  I truly have great respect for the people who work for these agencies but they are typically only able to provide general guidelines to job seekers, and too often only offer one-size-fits-all advice about resume development.  Considering that the vast majority of those who use employment office job search resources are generally not high-end professionals, the advice these offices do provide is very usable.  But if you are someone with a specialized lengthy career, sometimes the generic advice they provide falls short.
For many workers, even those with many years under their belts, a one-page resume should suffice.  Certainly almost all experienced job seekers can create a long list of accomplishment statements to define the credibility they offer potential employers.  But in many cases, those statements can become redundant, duplicating functions or actions performed on the various jobs held.  Distilling that list to the most relevant details to a select few should succinctly and satisfactorily convey the strengths of the job seeker.  And in all honesty, many employers do prefer a one-page resume.
In the case of a professional in a highly specialized field, providing more detail in a resume may be necessary to convey the breadth of experiences that may be relevant to a prospective employer.  It’s not just that those with lengthy careers have had more experience, but the diversity of the functions they have performed may be more detailed, and require a deeper explanation or more information to effectively convey the job seeker’s ability to fill the needs of their next employer.
Obviously the decision about the length of a resume should be based on the needs of each individual job seeker, the experiences they’ve had, the type of work they are looking for, and the particular needs of the employers they target.  Despite all the advice out there about resume development, a resume should be a flexible document that serves the individual job seeker.  Sure, the page formatting and layout may be similar from one resume to another, but the content is what will set one job seeker apart from the next, regardless of the type of employment someone is looking for, or the amount of experience they’ve had.  If the relevant details of what you can bring to your next job necessitate going to a second page, then by all means, do so.
There’s no question that my friend could have distilled her content to its briefest components, but she would have sacrificed clarifying descriptions of her accomplishments had she done so.  She could also have shrunk down the font to 9 pt, and reduced her top & bottom margins to less than  half an inch, and squeezed it all onto one page.  But doing that would have sacrificed readability of her document by making it appear too dense and crowded.  But by keeping her margins at one inch all around, and the font at a very readable 12 pt, her resume looked clean, was easy to visually scan, and just over a page and a half in total length, providing sufficient white space for her most important content to stand out clearly and draw the employer reader’s eye (on paper or the computer screen) without strain.
Is one page enough?  Are two pages too many?  Only you can be the judge.  The important thing is that your content accurately and succinctly conveys the strengths and skills the employer is looking for!  If your work history, experience and skills demand the space, go for it!
For more tips and ideas about resumes, job search and career development, please search this blog and visit:  hanklondon.com

By Hank

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