Do recruiters prefer resumes to be brief like 1 page only or is it okay for it to be 2 pages? What about 3 or more?
Context: For this post, I’m not going to talk about the contents of the resume, how to make sure it’s something recruiters want to and will finish reading, or how to arrange the pages of your resume. I’ll only focus on the number of pages and how to frame it since that’s what the question’s asking. All this from the perspective that the reader is a fresh grad at most.
In my opinion, if you’re <3 years out of college, and you’re looking for a job aka not being pirated, then it should be 1 page only. If you’re fresh out of college or still in college, then anything above 1 page is just superfluous chatter on our part.
Why? We’ve done nothing relevant enough to merit a 2nd page.
What we’re doing with our 2nd page is sharing a laundry list of everything remotely resume-enhancing that we’ve collected. That’s not something a high value candidate would do. That’s something a mediocre person trying to cover up their mediocrity would do.
Someone who knows their a good fit for the job wouldn’t waste time trying to obscure why they’re the best fit. They’d go straight to the point. “Here’s the 3 pieces of my past experience that are most relevant for this job.”
We don’t want to waste the recruiters’ first impressions of us on the idea that we don’t know how to market ourselves to them specifically. Everyone’s going to spray and pray. Very few are going to email a succinct, targeted, 1-page resume that’s meant for that specific job.
Stand out by being one of those few.
Get to your point as quick as possible. Show them that you’re the best for the role before they hit the bottom of the page. Because before the recruiter hits half the 1st page, they already know if you’re someone they want to talk to. Or if your resume is going back in the pile.
All your friends, peers, enemies, and batchmates (and maybe even you) are thinking, “I’m going to wow this recruiter with my 5 page resume filled with things that sound so impressive!”
What they aren’t thinking is the next part of that sentence, which is, ”…but aren’t actually going to be relevant to the role that the recruiter’s filling, meaning they probably won’t finish looking through all of this BS I wrote.”
Put yourself in the recruiters’ shoes. If you’re insanely busy, and you need to get something done and off your list, would you read carefully a 5-page paper that looks identical to a stack of 100 other papers (that you also have to read)? Or would you skim through it instead, looking for specific keywords or highlights?
Make sure you’re always thinking about how the recruiter will perceive you, especially against a stack of people with the same background and experiences listed as you. You aren’t existing in a bubble where your only being compared to the job description. You are always being compared to the pile .
A strong 1-page resume will break the recruiters’ autopilot skimming mode and get them to note down your name and number. That’s the goal of the resume after all. To move you to the interview stage where you can close the sale.
But Justine, what if I really want the recruiter to know everything about me?
If that’s what you really want, to list everything down and direct the recruiter to learn more about you, leave a clickable bit.ly on your resume PDFs.
Not only are you saving space, but you can also track how many people wanted to know more about you.
Where should that clickable bitly lead to?
- Your LinkedIn or
- Your portfolio pages or
- A hosted website dedicated to talking solely about yourself. (If you want to save money, I vote using a free WordPress.
Make the domain name the same as your email. For example, firstname.lastname@example.org means a justineltchua.wordpress.com)
What can you do instead of making a 2-page resume?
Make multiple targeted 1-page resumes. 1 per every field you want to enter. Place them in separate folders named after that specific field.
Don’t get them confused. You’ll ruin your impression in a snap if you send your finance resume for a marketing role. Stay alert! I have made this mistake too many times before, unfortunately, so learn from my mistakes!!
Just remember: At the end of the day, your resume is a snapshot of specific accomplishments that will make the hiring manager want to learn more about you.
You want to market yourself as the best candidate as fast as possible. Like how we don’t watch a 1 hour ad to consider buying something, it shouldn’t take you a number of pages and paragraphs to get the recruiters to consider you.
Your resume length shouldn’t be a symbolic summary of your entire life. It should be proof that you can communicate effectively and efficiently.
Complete sidebar, trying something new this July 16-20 with the limited beta launch of my Resume Templates Bundle Pack. ?
The Big 3 Pack includes the resume templates from UP, ADMU, and DLSU but I put in ideal resume content and fixed them up. It’s a basic simulation of an ideal resume, following the format of your school.
The Pretty Pack is also a pair of resume templates, and they also use the same words/content as the ones in the Big 3. The difference is that these 2 templates use unique designs and formats, which are eyecatchingly different compared the generic layouts of college templates.
These are perfect to make your resume stand out from the pile, and can also serve as inspiration in designing your own if ever.
Lastly, One-Pagers are one-page PDFs that tell you everything you need to know about something. There are 3 Standard One-Pagers, which are guides about the basics regarding resumes.
The Specific One-Pagers (which are 12 in total) hone in on a part of the resume in more detail (ex. Work Experience, Skills & Interests, etc.)
What’s inside the bundle pack?
Depends on your tier!
(Photo’s broken and I’ve lost it, will replace someday
– and a lot more, especially since this is the beta pilot test
Also, as this is a limited launch, and I’m sure I haven’t covered everything that needs to be in this bundle pack…
… I’ll be throwing in a free round of edits. ? So I’ll look over your resume myself, and point out everything else you can improve.
And if you’re up for it, I’ll probably throw in some ~life consultation~ too on strategizing how to reach whatever you want to reach. ?
How do we get started?
1. You take the quiz from the Personalized Product Platform aka the Google Form below ++ choose which tier you want to be in (this says how many resources you’ll get)
2. I learn about what kind of bundle pack you need
3. You deposit your tier price, ranging from Php500 to Php1500 (a steal considering a resume consultation with me is now at Php2500!!)
4. I send you your recommended bundle pack + some bonus freebies I think you’ll need based on your answers from the PPP
Simple and quick~
Q: When and where does the free round of edits happen?
A: You’ll get instructions on that after filling out the PPP.
Q: How and when do I pay?
A: I’m keeping this form open only until July 20, 6pm. You just have to sign up to be part of the launch. To pay, you have until July 23 to deposit the money into the bank account.
The templates and freebies won’t be sent to you until you’ve confirmed payment though~
Q: Can I ask you questions?
A: As of now, for this round only, as many as you like! I am open to all questions because it helps me get feedback!
Q: How do I sign up?
A: Click this bitly and fill it up~
In case you have no idea where you are, welcome to The Border Collective, where any question you’ve got on internships, resumes, or careers in the PH can and will be answered. I’m Justine, founder and writer of all things here.
Resumes is a sub-category of Resource where I share things I’ve learned over the course of fixing my own and a lot of people’s resumes, so that you guys don’t have to trial and error this stuff like I did.
I know it’s incredibly hard to force your whole life to fit neatly on paper and worse, to make it attractive to your dream companies. Through my writings, I hope you learn at least 1 thing that makes your life easier.
This is my way of giving back because I wish that when I was a freshman, a resource like TBC existed to help guide me not to waste my time on things that don’t work.
If there’s something you want to ask but never knew where to send them to, drop them in The Border Collective’s Google Form or ask.fm. Being a kid myself, I’ve probably gone through the same situations. And at the very least, I can tell you what NOT to do.
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Hope you read something useful, til the next time I write something, bye~
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Most of my advice is very different from other career “experts”, since I actually tried and tested it myself. And because, you know, I’m a Chinese girl in the Philippines who tried out for almost every multinational here, while building contacts up in the startup world.
So, expect it to be very contextualized for Asians, women, and // or millennials // Gen Z-ers.
PS, do not sign up if you’re lazy, a whiner, or an entitled brat. There’s nothing useful in here for you.