When it comes to resumes, there are so many options. Some hiring managers will advise you to write a one-page resume, others will expect more detail and prefer a two-page resume. There are resumes with a simple design available using a program like Microsoft Word, or you can use a more modern resume format. There really is no wrong way of doing it, and resume builders will have different approaches, but what is important is that your resume is in line with the industry, level, and role you are applying for. Seek guidance on this and ensure you are using an appropriate template.
What is a One-Page Resume?
A one-page resume is a concise version of a longer CV or resumes that is a single page. Whilst some resumes can be highly detailed, a one-page resume takes all of your information and condenses it so that it is easy to read, contains only highly relevant information, and can be used by recruiters to quickly weed out job seekers that do not meet requirements. Resumes are not always one page, but certain countries prefer it, as do certain industries.
In the USA, one-page resumes are favored, so if you are applying for a job in the USA, opt for the one-pager. One page resumes are also preferred in the financial industry or for entry-level positions, such as roles for recent graduates.
When a One-Page Resume is Not Required
In Europe and other countries, unless the position is for the financial sector or a consulting role, a two page CV is the norm. There are some situations where a one-pager resume is not the go-to. For example, if you are applying for an academic position, you will need to submit an academic CV, which can be quite a long document as it needs to include publications, teaching, and research, as well as what is included in a standard resume.
If you are applying for a role that requires extensive experience, it would also be preferable to use a longer CV so that experience can be evidenced. Candidates applying for a design role may favor a longer CV which is structured more like a portfolio to show off examples of their work and to use the CV as a basis for demonstrating their design skills.
People applying for roles at C Level tend to use a longer resume format as they have a great deal to evidence and a great deal of experience in a role at this level is of high importance. Transferable skills are not enough.
How to Make a One-Page Resume – Tips
So how can you make sure you have an effective one-page resume that will get you through to the interview stage? As above, it’s all about being concise, clear, and relevant. Follow these brief guidelines and you won’t go far wrong.
1). Pick a Simple Design
Make sure your template isn’t so fancy that boxes, headings, and general design take up too much space. You only have a page, so you need to make sure that the bulk of your resume is text. Resumes that focus too much on design over content are not going to win you an interview. Appearance is important of course, but it’s what is written on your resume that’s going to get you to the next stage, not how creative your template is.
2). Make Sure Your Resume is ATS Complaint
Many companies use ATS (Applicant Tracking System) to screen job applications. This is a software program that is programmed to look for industry appropriate keywords, so it’s very important that your content is very relevant to the role you’re applying for and the job description you’ve been given. Give some thought to keywords and what a recruiter might be searching for and make sure these are interspersed throughout your resume.
It isn’t just keywords that make your resume ATS compliant. Some designs can cause problems with the system which is another reason to keep your resume simple. Too many text boxes, using lots of fonts and colors can also mean that your CV isn’t read properly by the system and could be unfortunately discarded.
3). Keep it Relevant
This is the most important point when it comes to writing any length CV, but with a one-page resume, it’s even more vital because you have limited space so can only include what really needs to be there. If you’ve had a long career, how much of it is really relevant to what you’re applying for now? It’s highly likely that only your recent positions are very relevant.
If you’ve worked your way up, experience 15 years ago, maybe at a much lower level than you are working at now, and it may be in a different field altogether. If this is the case, focus on the most relevant positions and amalgamate or just list positions that were over 10 years ago. For really old positions that are no longer relevant, you may want to leave them off altogether. If they don’t add value, don’t list them. Focus on what is most likely to get you your next job.
If you are a job seeker in high school or are a recent graduate, you’ll want to include more and make what you have relevant, even if only loosely. You can do this by focusing on transferable skills. Take from your experience all the skills that will move you on, but don’t include details that are too specific and don’t transfer to where you want to be.
Check the essential criteria and job description of the role you’re applying for and make sure each point you make on your resume, relates to an essential criterion. If it doesn’t, it isn’t needed. As with experience, depending on where you are in your career, there will be education that isn’t relevant. Unless you are still in school, you do not need to list your high school education. Similarly, if you did a course 10 years ago that has nothing to do with what you do now, it isn’t needed.
4). Keep it Concise
If you’ve had lots of roles that are similar, the chances are you have to include bullet points that repeat across your experience section. If you’ve shown in one role that you have a skill, you don’t need to repeat it elsewhere. Make sure bullet points are different and serve a purpose or they are just wasting space. Pick the best resume example, where you achieved the highest results, and use that.
In the name of keeping everything concise, it’s very important that a resume is highly achievement-focused. Long lists of duties are not needed. When you are job searching, a potential employer wants to know what you can do for them, not what you are expected to do, with no evidence of whether you have done it or not.
5). Narrow Down Your Sections
For a one page resume, you can cut some sections that are not so vital. The most important sections are education, experience, and depending on your industry and location, you may have a brief skills section. You will also need your personal information at the top. Whereas you may go into more detail in a multiple page CV, with a one-pager, this is all you need. You also do not need to waste space with references.
Keep your personal information to an absolute minimum. You can fit your address, phone number, and email address all on one line and if you want to use a photo, this can be positioned next to your personal information rather than above it as an extra space saver. When it comes to information in your experience section like employer, role, and date, you can keep this all to one line too, rather than spacing it out over two or three lines.
6). Watch Your Font
Different fonts take up different amounts of space. Find one that is small and neat, and you can reduce the size to 10.5 if needed. Many resumes have a larger font for headings. This isn’t necessary if you are pushed for space. Use bold for headings to make things stand out. There is also no need to have your name in large font, where bold can make it stand out just as well.
7). Check Your Spacing
Play around with your spacing so there is not too much of a gap between bullet points and sections. It still needs to be clear and readable with some white space, but adjusting spacing and moving bullet points so that they do not indent so far can make a huge difference to how much you can get on a page. You can also adjust your margins. The default margin settings leave a lot of space around the edges of your resume so make sure you adjust them. You can go as low as 0.5cm if necessary and your resume will look great and use maximum space.
8). Reformat Lone Words
Look at your resume formatting and check for lines that hold just a single word. Sometimes a bullet point may take more than one line which is fine, but if there is a lone word on a line, it doesn’t look pleasing to the eye and also wastes valuable space. Reformat, or edit your bullet point so that no word is left on a line alone.
One-Page Resume Sample (Text-Version)
Embedded Controls Engineer
1737 Marshville Road, Alabama
To find a position in which I can apply my existing skills as a controls engineer to contribute to a team atmosphere at a company that will provide me with both professional development and opportunity for growth.
RSLogix 5000, Connected Components Work Bench, Microsoft Office, Autocad.
Embedded Controls Engineer
Bimbo Bakeries USA – September 2013 – 2019
- Provided controls support for equipment development and process improvements from concept to full implementation.
- Provided project management support for new installs and capital projects.
- Provided administrative support for SCADA systems, specifically WinSPC.
- Managed the backup database for all PLC, HMI, and VFD programs using Asset Centre.
- Developed standard operating procedures for both the production and maintenance departments.
- Provided training to maintenance technicians to develop the company’s internal controls knowledgebase.
- Managed controls software on multiple different PCs for multiple different users.
Reference – 1 (Reliable Controls Corporation)
Reference – 2 (Cummins Turbo Technologies)
One-Page Resume Sample
How to Get Your Resume Down to One-Page
If you have a longer resume, it’s a good starting point because you can use it as a basis to cut content from. It’s a good exercise in working out what is relevant and what isn’t. Start by taking out full sections that aren’t needed and then look at what is left to work with. Trim your education section down so that school education is removed along with any expired or irrelevant courses.
The real challenge is the experience section. This is the longest section and the one that will need the most cutting. Match your experience to the job you’re applying for and this will help you to work out what is important and what will not impress the recruiter reading your resume. A resume should be achievement based so make sure your experience section demonstrates what you can do, rather than a list of duties.
Often people include references at the end or at least a line saying, ‘references available on request’. Whilst this is fine, when you only have a page to work with, this is really just a space waster. If a potential employer wants a reference, they will ask you, whether it is added as a line on your CV or not, so there is no need to waste the valuable space you have.
Ways to Give More
If you have been asked to submit a one-page resume and you are struggling to compact everything you want to share, you can get creative with ways to give more information. You can always include a link to an online portfolio, website, or LinkedIn profile. This is a great way of adding value. If a potential employer is interested in you based on your CV, they have instant access to further information. When you send a CV to an employer, always include a short cover letter explaining who you are, why you are applying, and why you are the best person for the job. Just as with the resume, this needs to be highly tailored to the role, not a generic letter that is sent with every application.
There are many different ways to write a resume. It depends largely on the location, industry, and preferences of a recruiter. If you are basing your job search in the USA, a one-page resume is favored by 48% of recruiters and in many industries across the world, it is standard. Having a well thought out, achievement-based one-page resume, that is highly tailored to the role you are applying for, is the best way to ensure you get to the next stage of the recruitment process. If you feel you have more to showcase than can fit in a one-page resume, you can always link to a portfolio or web page, without compromising your resume length. Pair your one-page resume with a cover letter and you have what you need to approach a potential employer.