The Myth of the One Page Resume

by Jennifer Devine, Head Editor, INALJ West Virginia

The Myth of the One Page Resume

Jennifer DevineWhen I first started my job search while still in my graduate program, I read a lot of resources on how to create a great resume.  Most sources will tell you that as a student just coming into the workforce that you have one page to make it pass the 20 second rule.  I stuck to this idea in creating my first resume and created a pretty decent resume.  I did have to leave off some volunteer work and other work positions that didn’t exactly meet the requirements of the job I was applying to. I was able to land my first job off this resume and lucked out that they were just looking for specific experience that I have.
Recently I have been looking for a second job and needed to redo my resume.  I had been tailoring my resume to each position I applied to, but a lot of the jobs that I have been applying to want customer service experience, which I have but was not on my resume.  My new resume I felt needed to include my current position, which I intend to keep with a new job.  I also had to show my customer service positions and library experience.  Just with those positions it filled up an entire page and was leaving off important information from my resume that would complement the skills required for the job.

I started to debate about making my resume more than one page.  I was a bit skeptical at first.  I talked with some of my co-workers and found out most of them have two page resumes.  I then spoke with some of my former classmates and previous co-workers and found out that they too have two page resumes.  I read some more information online and found some sources mentioning one page is best but if you have enough to go to two pages that it is acceptable.  I decided to bite the bullet and expanded my resume to two pages.

Just in grad school alone I worked two jobs and volunteered in related fields.  Three of these positions alone take up one page and don’t even include my inernships, previous relevant work experience or other related volunteer experiences.  I still tailor my resume and for some positions and take off some of my experience, which makes it one page.  However, I now feel since I made the two-page resume that the one page resume is truly a myth.  If you’re like me and you’ve held more than one job, completed internships or volunteered you have a lot of valuable experience that you are leaving off your resume when scaling down to one page.

Using a two-page resume may not be needed for everyone but if you have a lot of relevant experience for positions you are applying to don’t worry so much about the length of you resume but pay attention to the relevance of the resume to the job posting.

You want to convince the readers of your resume that you can do the job your applying to.  Therefore you want to include the most relevant experience you have whether they be paid or unpaid.  Skills that are required or would be needed for the job i.e. time management, organization ect… Don’t forget to include relevant courses, conferences, workshops or anything that you have done that will set you apart from the crowd and are relatable or useful to the organization you are applying to.  I would also suggest that you include any professional organizations you are a member of.  Although it may seem like a space waster it helps show your commitment to your career path and professional development it may also help you in landing the job if the hiring committee are members as well or if they are familiar with the organizations.

Naomi House

Naomi House, MLIS, is the founder and publisher of the popular LIS jobs resource (formerly I Need a Library Job). Founded in October 2010 with the assistance of her fellow Rutgers classmate, Elizabeth Leonard, INALJ’s social media presence has grown to include Facebook (retired in 2016), Twitter and a LinkedIn group, in addition to the interviews, articles and jobs found on INALJ has had over 20 Million page views and helped thousands of librarians and LIS folk find employment! Through grassroots marketing, word of mouth and a real focus on exploring unconventional resources for job leads, INALJ grew from a subscription base of 20 friends to a website with over 500,000 visits in a month. Naomi believes that well-sourced quantity is quality in this narrow job market and INALJ reflects this many new jobs published daily. She was a 2013 Library Journal Mover & Shaker and has served on the University of Maryland iSchool Board from 2014-2017. Naomi was a Reference, Marketing and Acquisitions Librarian for a contractor at a federal library outside Washington, DC, and now lives part time in Western NY and Budapest, Hungary. She has heard of spare time but hasn’t encountered it lately. She pronounces INALJ as eye-na-elle-jay. 


  2 comments for “The Myth of the One Page Resume

  1. Patricia
    February 21, 2014 at 4:38 am

    Resumes for academic librarian positions don’t need to follow the 2-page rule(?). It’s expected that you include items such presentations, publications, volunteer work with associations. Usually they start at 2-3 pages long, and with positions that require more experience (such as the head librarian or director) they will run 4-10 pages. At my institution they distribute the resumes of candidates before they give their presentations to the staff so that they may prepare their questions. I’ve seen quite a few of these and value being able to see how the short-listed candidates resumes are formatted and what they select to put on them.

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