Resume Writing: One or Two Pages?

Sara Kelleher is the National Recruitment and Admissions Specialist for Citizen Schools. Previously, Sara was a National Teaching Fellow in North Carolina. The first application deadline for the National Teaching Fellowship is October, 29, 2012. Your resume is arguably the most important document you'll create in your life. As a National Teaching Fellow, you will be a leader in your classroom, school and community.  Similarly to any leadership position, whether it’s a manager at a store or President of the United States, you will be required to present yourself both professionally and personally.

As the Presidential Candidates debate the issues facing the nation, Citizen Schools tackles a debate on an issue important to any recent college-grad: Should candidates use a one or two page resume?  For applicants to the National Teaching Fellowship we have a clear winner. You may be surprised to find out which format is victorious...


One Page Resume:

Pros: A one page resume allows one to use the space effectively without overwhelming the reader.  In addition, the limited word amount requires only the most meaningful experiences to be shared.  All in all, it keeps you focused on the most significant accomplishments.  A one page format makes it really clear to the reader where you have worked, how long you were there, where you were educated, and what you studied.

Cons: Some resumes are so crammed with information in a font so small it is difficult to read.  A reader might not want to read something so busy, especially if there are other resumes from just as qualified candidates.

Two Page Resume:

Pros: A two page allows room for size 10-14 fonts and reasonable margin space.  It also allows candidates to write more descriptive results, share context to those results, which includes any challenges that arose during those experiences, and lastly, more room means more space to illustrate a greater impact.

Cons: Having so much space leaves more room for “fluff” or words that are not the most critical to the position.  Readers might become so lost in details that they do not pull the most important parts of the resume.  The format can also come off as dense and unfocused.

So who wins?  A concise or spacious format?

For the National Teaching Fellowship, the winner is a one page resume.  The one page format means candidates focus on the experiences most relevant to the position, not to mention one page of information is more visually compelling for the Admissions team.

Tip from the field: The Citizen Schools National Teaching Fellowship application is a rigorous, competitive process.  Make sure to clearly highlight your experience with appropriate headers (i.e. Leadership, Volunteer, Education) and confirm your contact information is correct. Good luck!