A resume is your chance to sell yourself to a recruiter as an excellent fit for a job, so we understand if you’re tempted to fill the document with every job you’ve ever had. However, if you want to land more interviews, that isn’t the best approach. Hiring managers have many resumes to look through, so it is better to stick with a one-page resume that describes your skills and experience as concisely as possible. You don’t want to be the Jack who can do ALL trades; you want to be the Jack who can do the particular job you’re applying for.
Besides, some hiring managers use Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS), and long, rambling resumes are far less likely to make the cut.
This article will give you tips and tricks to create a single-page resume, whether you’re starting from scratch or trimming a long one. Let’s get right into it!
How To Write a One-Page Resume
1. Include only relevant experience
If you’re an intern or entry-level candidate, you may think that adding all the previous responsibilities you have had will make you more employable. That’s wrong. Recruiters understand that you’re a fresh graduate and so they don’t expect you to have years of experience.
Only include experience that reflects your abilities in the skills highlighted for the job you’re applying for. Recruiters don’t need to know that you DJ’ed for your previous firm’s Chrismas party unless they’re hiring an office DJ, and we highly doubt that that’s a thing.
2. Combine related work experience
A one-page resume has very limited space. So if you had the same responsibilities at two different jobs, only mention where you had the best results. Repeating the same job roles takes up precious space on your resume, but it also bores the recruiter who probably has 500 other resumes to go through, and makes you seem unprofessional. That’s very counterproductive.
3. Use bullet points instead of paragraphs
Bullet points are a better option than paragraphs when describing your job responsibilities at previous positions. They give your resume an organized feel and make the document feel readable. Paragraphs, on the other hand, make your resume look bulky, like an essay. Reading that would feel like a chore to anyone, not to talk of a recruiter who has a lot more options and is pressed for time.
Also, don’t give in to the urge to use repetitive bullets. You may feel the need to use three or four bullet points for each job role to flesh out each section, but that’s unnecessary. Here’s a tip if you can’t find the words to describe your roles at previous job positions accurately – work with the keywords provided in the job listing that you’re applying for, and then you can choose from any of our pre-written job descriptions that fit the bill, depending on your industry.
4. Set contact details into one line
Many resume formats set each contact detail in different lines, and while it may be good for design, it just takes up too much space. Space that you need for other essential sections.
So, when you’re creating a one-page resume, try fitting all your contact details in one line instead of creating a separate line for each. Keep in mind that that ‘contact details’ could only be your phone number, email address, and maybe LinkedIn profile. You don’t typically need to provide your home address unless specifically specified.
5. Leave out your high school education
Adding your high school education to your resume is just fluff and filler. It serves no real purpose unless you’re adding it strategically because you have information that the hiring manager went to the same high school. (And even then, it’s still not the best idea.)
Otherwise, it’s needless information, and you should leave it out. Also, leave out any awards for ‘most likely to succeed’ or the fact that you were prom queen. We hate to break it to you, Betty, but that’s not a selling point.
6. Avoid unnecessary elaborations and repetition
If you can present any points in shorter words, please do. Elaborations won’t make you seem smarter. Where necessary, use industry acronyms that you’re sure the Hiring Manager will understand.
For example, if you’re applying for a programmer’s position, using C++, SQL, SEO, HTML, etc. would not be out of place, and you’ll be saving a lot of space compared to writing the acronyms out in full.
7. Leave out the objective
Like we’ve been iterating, it shouldn’t be on the CV unless it serves a purpose. We’ve heard plenty of recruiters’ mixed feelings about adding a resume objective. Some claim it’s beneficial, others say it’s a mere waste of space, and we agree. However, this depends on your industry and the kind of position you’re applying for. If you’re an intern or a veteran, an objective may be a necessary bit.
For the most part, let your experience display your intent. If your experience doesn’t seem relevant to the position, use your bullet points to show how your job roles suit the position you’re applying for.
When they are not crucial to the job, you also don’t need to include hobbies, interests, or volunteer work. If the recruiter is interested in these things, they will typically save it for the interview.
To make the most of the space that you have, put information about each previous position on one line.
You may like how your resume looks when your previous job roles have a line each for the length of your job, place, and title. But if it makes your resume longer than one page, it’s time to get things moving again.
Explore ways to make all this information fit in one or two lines on your resume. If you do that with all your positions, it will save you a lot of space. If you don’t want the stress of playing with margins and design tools, check out Template Monkey. We have tons of resume formats already designed as one-pagers.
9. Adjust line spacing
If, for whatever reason, you have double-spaced the lines in your document, adjust it. That can considerably reduce the space your text is taking up on the resume. A 1x line spacing may be too little and end up making your document looking clumsy, so a 1.5x line spacing will do the job just fine.
Alternatively, you could reduce spacing to 1x between bullet points, and leave the 1.5x spacing for spaces between headlines and supporting text.
10. Reduce font
This may seem like a no-brainer, but it is possible to forget in the heat of drafting a perfect resume. If you’re using traditional fonts like Arial or Times New Roman, it is advisable to use font size 12. It is the best size for conserving space while still keeping your text readable. A size ten font is unreadable for most people.
You could play around with more modern fonts like Ubuntu or Helvetica, and in those cases, font sizes like 11 could still work.
Also, reduce the size of your name on the header. Most people use a dramatic, bold font for their names in a bid to be unique, but we think that’s a pointless waste of space. Recruiters know that your name would be at the top of the resume anyway, so your resume can benefit from a smaller font.
11. Send it as a PDF
If the work listing does not mention a preferred file format, save and submit your resume as a PDF. Not only is PDF the chosen type of file for resumes, but it also preserves your documents’ formatting. This means that the hiring manager will see your one-page resume with the same font sizes, margins, and paragraph spacings you used.
Word formats are great, but you can never really be sure what version the hiring manager would see, as Docx documents change in transit, especially when there are design elements involved. The unique design touches you added could end up showing sloppily on the recruiter’s end, and that’s not the impression you want to make.
12. Leave out the references
Although it is customary to say “references available on request” on your resume, eliminating this line will save space. The hiring manager would certainly ask for references at the interview regardless of whether your CV says this or not.
Need help with your one-page resume?
If you already have a 2-paged resume and you’re not sure what to cut or trim to make it a single-page resume, you could head on over to Template Monkey, where we have a vast collection of the best one-page resume templates. You could just fill in the gaps and customize the details to work for you.
As a rule of thumb, entry-level and internship candidates should use a one-page CV. Depending on the industry, intermediate candidates’ CV could be longer than one page. Still, most recruiters consensus that only candidates who have been in their industry longer than ten years should have resumes longer than one page.