New Research Suggests That Advice to Limit Your Resume to One Page Might Be Wrong After All
This article originally appeared on BusinessInsider.com.
Conventional wisdom holds that your résumé should be no longer than one page.
At least that's what most résumé coaches will tell you.
But new research suggests that job recruiters were more than twice as likely to prefer two-page resumes over one-page résumés — a conclusion that surprised even the researchers.
As part of an experiment, résumé-writing service ResumeGo presented almost 20,000 one- and two-page résumés to a pool of 482 job recruiters, hiring managers, HR professionals, and C-suite executives. The participants were put through a three-week "hiring simulation" in which they were asked to screen the résumés for a variety of job positions comprising different levels of work experience.
Across the board, the participants were more likely to prefer the two-page résumés. Out of the 7,712 résumés they approved, 5,375 of them were two pages long, while just 2,337 were one page long.
The results were especially pronounced when it came to higher-level job positions. The participants were 2.9 times as likely to prefer two-page résumés for managerial-level positions and 2.6 times as likely for midlevel positions.
But the results held up even when it came to entry-level workers — traditionally the group that is most cautioned against exceeding one page. Participants were 1.4 times as likely to prefer two-page résumés, even for those positions, the researchers found.
"While the overwhelming majority of career experts argue that a two-page résumé 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," ResumeGo CEO Peter Yang said in a statement.
Not only did the two-page résumés perform better than the one-pages ones, the participants in the experiment also spent significantly more time reading them, bucking the notion that job recruiters will gloss over lengthier résumés. They spent an average of four minutes and five seconds going over the two-page résumés, compared to just two minutes and 24 seconds on the one-page examples.
It's worth noting that the experiment only accounted for the preferences of human résumé screeners, and not the software programs companies are using with increasing frequency.
For Yang, the results prove how little we actually know about the art of résumé-writing, and how much of the advice you hear isn't necessarily based in fact. As he noted, there has been barely any scientific research looking into the ideal résumé length.
"It's one of the frustrating things in the industry. I would go online to see what experts had to say about this or that, and people were kind of just giving out tips from their own opinions, not grounded in any real evidence," Yang told Business Insider.
"Furthermore, recruitment methods and the hiring landscape are constantly evolving," he said in the ResumeGo announcement. "So what may have been true in the past may no longer be the case today."