Monday, May 07, 2007

Two-Page Resume vs. One-Pager with Gaps

I have been working for about 14 years now, and moved around every few years to a new position. Right now, I am attempting to change careers, so therefore some of my experience would be irrelevant for the position I am seeking.

What I am finding is that to keep a timeline with no gap requires putting so many jobs done that the resume sprawls to a page and a half. This is even with single or only two bullet points for the irrelevant positions.

It seems I can either cut irrelevant jobs to get the resume down to the 'classic' one page which will also leave at least a two-year gap on the resume, OR I can present a two-page resume with no gaps.

Which do you recommend? What bothers the people who will be handling my resume more, gaps or a two-page resume?
Thank you for any advice,

by Catherine Sutton, Professional Resume Writer

Hi Duncan,
Work gaps should be avoided at nearly all costs as many employers will discount a resume if it has gaps in the work history. On the other hand, a two-page resume is really not a problem unless there's something important on the second page that you want the reader to notice. Employers often don't read the second page carefully, assuming that the applicant has prioritized his information so the most relevant is on page one.

That said, I suggest you try to get your resume down to one page that’s easy to read. That means making your text lean and mean while your formatting allows for lots of white space and font size no smaller than 11 point.

Here are some techniques for paring down your resume:

1. Don’t list months in your work history; years only are sufficient. Using this technique may allow you to drop irrelevant jobs from your work history all together, saving resume real estate and keeping the resume on focus.

2. For jobs that are not relevant to your job objective but you must list in order to avoid gaps in your work history, write simply the job title, employer, location, and year(s). No further explanation or bullet statements are required. For jobs that are relevant, you should write bullet achievement statements – that’s resume real estate well used!

3. To make your work history look more cohesive (and to save space), group redundant employment stints together. For instance, if you held the same job title with a few different employers, lead with your title and overall span of years; then list the employers underneath.

4. Decrease your right and left margins (however, go no smaller than .75 inch on each side) to allow longer line lengths of text.

5. For each job in your work history, try to fit your job title, employer info, and dates on one line.

If, after using these techniques, your resume still spans two pages, that’s okay. Put “Continued” at the bottom of page one, your name and “Page Two” at the top of the second page, and send it off with confidence!

Longer Resumes Gain Ground by Mark Feffer cites a survey that indicates that two-page resumes are quite acceptable in today's job market. Whether your resume is one or two pages long, Feffer says, "Among other things, resumes are an opportunity to demonstrate your ability to prioritize and write clearly and concisely."

Good luck with your career change, Duncan!

No comments: