As I mentor many students working towards their Master’s degrees and early-career professionals, I frequently emphasize the significance of having two distinct resumes during their job search. Each serves a vital purpose, although in different contexts.

Most of the times I see candidates who are unaware of the underlying rationale and mistakenly believe that a single-page resume would be sufficient especially when starting their career and there is not a lot to highlight on their resume, they don’t put effort to have a multi-page resume which does make sense but even for a single page resume you are most of the times missing the important stuff which is why your resume is not getting picked by the company/organization you are applying for.

But what is that important stuff?

Before understanding the important stuff lets address the ATS (Applicant Tracking System), If you’re already familiar with ATS and its workings, feel free to skip ahead. However, if you’re interested in understanding the distinction between single-page and multi-page resumes, I encourage you to continue reading. Additionally, if you’re unsure about what an ATS entails, you’re not alone.

An ATS is computer software that HR department use to process the overwhelming number of applications they receive for job openings. ATS is globally used by over 98% of Fortune 500 companies and HR department responsible for hiring totally relies on the ATS for the resumes to be sorted and pick only those that have the necessary keywords (important stuff). For everyone who is applying to a role through the job portal, the most important thing to understand is that it will be going through the ATS and ATS can decide your fate with the application based on the Keywords.

Steps for applications and how ATS plays a role in selecting or rejecting your resume:

ATS Process/Flow

Now that you understand the importance of having a resume with keywords that can align and make your resume stand out, you might typically opt for a multi-page resume to incorporate more keywords for this purpose. But what about the single-page resume?

Quick Deep Dive into Single Page and its Importance:

SA single-page resume holds equal importance, even in face-to-face interviews, let me share a story of my personal experience, After completing my Masters, I interviewed with one of the Big Four organizations. Despite carrying a multi-page resume, which some may consider unconventional, I managed to secure the offer. The experience was both challenging and enjoyable. During the behavioral interview, the interviewer deliberately adopted a tough demeanor to assess my reaction. He expressed annoyance at my multi-page resume, citing time constraints and proceeded with rigorous questioning. However, I maintained composure throughout the interview, responding calmly with a smile. As the interview concluded, I thanked the interviewer for the opportunity. His smile in return reassured me that I had succeeded, despite the initial skepticism about my resume length. Which is why I have always avoided bringing the multi-page resume to in-person since then!

Anyways, the story serves to highlight the importance of a single-page resume during both in-person and virtual interviews. You can confidently present your single-page resume to the interviewer, explaining that the multi-page version was intended for submission through the portal, while the concise single-page format is tailored specifically for the interview process.

Single-Page vs Multi-Page Resume

Now that you’ve learned how both are important in completely a different setting I trust you’ll navigate your job applications and interview experiences with confidence and enjoyment.

Single-page resumes: Pros:

Concise: Single-page resumes force candidates to prioritize their most relevant and impactful experiences, skills, and achievements.Easy to read: Recruiters and hiring managers often appreciate the brevity of single-page resumes, as they can quickly scan through the document to assess the candidate’s qualifications.Ideal for entry-level candidates: For individuals with limited work experience, a single-page resume can effectively showcase their skills and qualifications without overwhelming the reader with unnecessary details.

Cons:

Limited space: The constraint of fitting everything onto one page can be challenging for candidates with extensive work experience or diverse skill sets.Lack of detail: Single-page resumes may not provide enough space to fully elaborate on each experience or achievement, potentially leaving out important information that could strengthen the candidate’s candidacy.

Multi-page resumes: Pros:

Comprehensive: Multi-page resumes allow candidates to provide a more detailed overview of their work history, education, skills, and accomplishments.Room for expansion: Candidates with extensive work experience or a diverse skill set can use multiple pages to showcase their qualifications in greater detail.Tailored for specific roles: Multi-page resumes offer the flexibility to include relevant information tailored to the specific requirements of each job application.

Cons:

Risk of overload: Long, dense resumes can overwhelm recruiters and hiring managers, leading them to skim or skip over important information.Formatting challenges: Ensuring consistency and readability across multiple pages can be challenging, especially when dealing with complex formatting or design elements.Time-consuming to review: Recruiters may not have the time or inclination to thoroughly read through lengthy resumes, potentially leading to key qualifications being overlooked.

Single-Page Resume vs Multi-Page Resume was originally published in Level Up Coding on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

​ Level Up Coding – Medium

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