Whether a resume should go beyond one page in length has always been a widely controversial topic. Those who believe that resumes should always be a single page generally claim that hiring managers lose patience when reading through unnecessarily long resumes. On the other hand, proponents of longer resumes argue that they have more space to detail a candidate’s work experiences and accomplishments.
Despite the common arguments given on the matter, there is little to no empirical data to support either side. In fact, so-called “experts” often base their conclusions on individual preferences and unsubstantiated claims from random sources. Furthermore, recruitment methods and the hiring landscape are constantly evolving, so what may have been true in the past may no longer be the case today.
As a professional resume writing service, ResumeGo wanted to discover the optimal length for a resume. From October 15 to November 2, they conducted a study involving a total of 482 professionals, all of whom had direct experience with employee recruitment and were either recruiters, hiring managers, human resources professionals, or C-Suite level executives. These participants were put through a hiring simulation in which they were asked to screen resumes for a multitude of job positions.
Recruiters surprisingly prefer two-page resumes over one-page resumes regardless of the job level
According to the study results, out of the 7,712 resumes that participants chose in the simulated hiring process, a whopping 5,375 of these resumes were two pages in length. This means that recruiters were 2.3 times as likely to prefer two-page resumes over one-page resumes. A further breakdown of the results is shown in the chart below:
From the diagram, we see that participants were:
- 1.4 times as likely to prefer two-page resumes over one-page resumes when it came to entry-level job openings.
- 2.6 times as likely to prefer two-page resumes over one-page resumes when it came to mid-level job openings.
- 2.9 times as likely to prefer two-page resumes over one-page resumes when it came managerial-level job openings.
The findings that pertained to entry-level jobs were particularly surprising. 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. 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.