One of the most common assumptions about resumes is that they shouldn’t be longer than one page. It is important to keep the information you provide short, simple, and to-the-point. For many applicants though, that can’t be achieved in a single page, and it’s appropriate to write a two-page resume.
For some job applicants, a one-page resume will suffice. These include entry-level applicants, people who are making a career change, and older professionals who have worked at the same company for most of their careers.
Why You Should Consider Creating a Two-Page Resume
If you are a mid-level professional, there are several good reasons for creating a two-page resume. Perhaps the most important of these is that many companies now use an automated applicant tracking system (ATS) to carry out the initial screening of the resumes they receive (especially through digital application processes).
Such systems are programmed to privilege resumes that use and repeat specific keyword phrases—the bots assess both the placement and the frequency of industry-specific keywords in a resume. They also look for the length of experience one has in using particular job skills.
Expanding your resume to two pages will enable you to repeat these essential keywords throughout your professional experience section.
Although this may seem awkward and redundant stylistically, it is one of the best ways to ensure that your resume is one of the scanned resumes that actually make it to the stage where it will be considered by the human eye of a hiring manager.
When to Use a Two- (or More) Page Resume
Here are a few situations where it’s acceptable to use a resume with multiple pages:
When You Have More Than 10 Years of Experience
If you have 10 or more years of experience in your industry with multiple employers, or a history of promotion and professional achievement, you should definitely use a two-page resume. This will give you the room you need to describe the accomplishments and contributions that will set you apart from your competition.
When You Are Applying for a Senior-Level Job
Most companies that are hiring for C-level or senior management positions expect to receive two- or even three-page resumes that provide a detailed history of an executive candidate’s leadership roles and accomplishments.
When You Have Extensive Career Accomplishments, Certifications, or Technical Skills
If you are in certain industries, such as IT, engineering, academia, or scientific research, employers will want to review lists of your professional certifications, tech skills, key projects, and publications. These industries still privilege professional credentials as much as they do qualifications, and so a second or third page is necessary in order to provide a comprehensive account of one’s training background and work history.
When You Are Applying For a Federal Job
Although the application process for federal (government) jobs was significantly streamlined during the Obama administration, federal resumes are still required to provide lengthy details about a candidate’s work history. Few federal resumes are shorter than two pages, and most require three or four.
Tips for Writing a Two-Page Resume
- Place your most important qualifications on the first page: Both applicant tracking systems and human hiring managers want to see a candidate’s most relevant skills given pride of place at the very beginning of the resume. The best way to do this is to use a resume summary to provide a brief synopsis of the expertise and professional skills that make you a strong candidate for the job you’re applying for.
- Incorporate keyword phrases: Use keywords in your resume summary, and then rinse and repeat throughout your “Professional Experience” section. Applicant tracking systems calculate the number of years you’ve practiced a particular skill, so industry-specific keywords need to be repeated in each job description.
- Showcase quantifiable achievements: One of the primary advantages of using a two-page resume is that it gives you space to highlight your career accomplishments. Do this in the “Professional Experience” section by describing your work responsibilities in a brief paragraph, and then providing examples of important contributions in a three- or four-item bulleted list.
- Length of page two: Although you don’t have to fill the entire second page of your resume, you should have enough text to fill at least a third of the page (preferably more). If your text is running short, try to add more relevant information, keywords, and bulleted accomplishments (ideally, quantified with numbers, percentages, or dollar figures). Play with font sizes and margins. If these strategies don’t work, however, you should probably stick with a one-page resume.
Include a skills table of “core competencies” or “key skills” in your resume summary to highlight your professional and/or technical skills.
Two-page Resume Example
The following is an example of a two-page resume. It includes a resume summary, a skills table, professional experience descriptions that highlight accomplishments with bulleted achievements, and a comprehensive description of the candidate’s education and certifications.
Note how keyword phrases are repeated (although sometimes slightly rephrased) throughout the resume.
Two-Page Resume Example (Text Version)
123 Industrial Drive
Detroit, MI 48204
10+ years’ success enhancing manufacturing processes, systems, and productivity.
Detail-oriented Operations Manager leveraging superb leadership, analytical, and issue resolution talents to maximize factory floor productivity. Well-versed in analysis and fine-tuning of manufacturing and business processes, budget planning, quality control, and workforce calibration.
Effectively communicate expectations and project statuses across organizational levels and with clients and other stakeholders. Proactive in reviewing daily operations to promote uncompromised health and safety within high-hazard work environments.
Core Competencies: Strategic Planning / Quality Assurance / Product Standardization / Budget Forecasting / Systems Audits / Six Sigma Process Evaluation / Regulatory Compliance / P&L Optimization / Inventory Control
ABC MANUFACTURING, Detroit, Michigan
Operations Manager (February 2008 – Present)
Leverage expertise in Lean Six Sigma manufacturing programs and processes to analyze and optimize assembly-line operations for $2B automotive manufacturing corporation. Meticulously establish strategies to meet key performance indicators for quality, workplace safety, productivity, scrap rates, machine down time, and labor efficiencies. Supervise and mentor 8 direct reports.
- Spearheaded launch of new ERP program that significantly streamlined supply chain and inventory control operations, reducing overhead by 42%.
- Successfully introduced company safety program that reduced workplace accidents by 87%.
- Drove continuous improvement strategies and systems audits that heightened line productivity by 67% and reduced systems downtime by 78%.
XYZ AUTOMOTIVE, Detroit, Michigan
Operations Manager (November 2004 – January 2008)
Led daily operations planning for Tier 1 manufacturer of automatic transmissions and components. Headed implementation of Lean manufacturing continuous improvements; closely tracked production schedules and reports to identify trends and proactively pinpoint areas for positive procedural change.
- Championed acquisition of ERP software that improved accuracy of supply-chain predictions by 71%.
- Set up Kaizen training events and programs that improved productivity by 75%.
- Liaised with EHS personnel to train all employees in new health and safety procedures.
AUTOMOTIVE SOLUTIONS INC., Dearborn, Michigan
Project Manager / Manufacturing Engineer (July 2003 – September 2004)
Coordinated and directed cross-functional project team of 17 in research and design of automotive parts. Planned, launched, and established benchmarks for new projects. Additional scope of responsibility included project tracking, task scheduling, budgeting, change management, risk management, and stakeholder communications.
- Held ownership for tooling budgets of approximately $2.5 B.
- Implemented new project planning processes that consistently ensured maximum quality assurance and on-time launch of project deliverables.
~ Additional experience includes roles as a Manufacturing Engineer for Johnson Automotive Corporation (Detroit, Michigan) and Eliot Manufacturing Co. (Ann Arbor, Michigan). ~
EDUCATION & CREDENTIALS
UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN, Ann Arbor, Michigan; 3.86 GPA
Master of Engineering in Manufacturing
UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN, Ann Arbor, Michigan; 3.92 GPA
Bachelor of Engineering in Manufacturing
Professional Certifications: Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt in Operational Excellence • Lean Manufacturing • PMP • Lean Product Development • Certified Kaizen Facilitator
Information Technology Skills: Microsoft Office Suite • NetSuite Manufacturing Edition • Deskera ERP
THE ONE-PAGE RESUME IS A MYTH While one-page resumes are appropriate for entry-level candidates, most mid-level professionals are best-served by using two-page resumes.
UNDERSTAND APPLICANT TRACKING SYSTEMS Most major companies now use automated applicant tracking systems to do their initial screening of candidate resumes. A two-page resume allows you the space and opportunity to repeat the industry-specific keywords these systems prioritize.
GIVE YOUR STRONGEST QUALIFICATIONS PRIDE OF PLACE Even though it’s a smart strategy, for many job searchers, to use a two-page resume, your strongest qualifications need to be presented at the top of page one, ideally in a resume summary.