How can I make my résumé fit on one page?

You have probably been told that a résumé is typically a one-page document that highlights your educational background, experiences, accomplishments, skills, and interests. Upon receiving this advice, you may have found yourself thinking, “How am I supposed to fit all that on one page?”

Well, the good news is that there are shortcuts and strategies you can utilize to cut your résumé down to one page when you’re ready to use it for an application. Two content-related and two formatting-related tips to make it fit on one page are listed below.

Additionally, the Center for Career Development recommends that all students keep a master résumé, which is a document of unlimited length that lists all your prior experiences. Then, as you begin to apply for internships, jobs, or other opportunities, it’s important that you select specific information from your master résumé and tailor it in order to cut it down to only one or two full pages, depending on your industry.

  1. Content: Avoid “widows”

A “widow” is a word at the end of a sentence that appears on its own line. Rewording bullets can help eliminate these widows and provide you with a few more lines on the page. See the before and after examples below.

  1. Content: Focus on the most relevant bullet points

Even if you have a series of all-star bullet points written for a particular experience, you don’t have to keep all of them on every iteration of your résumé. For example, imagine that you worked as a lifeguard one summer and have the following bullet points on your master résumé:

If you’re applying to a student administrative assistant position on campus, the objective statement on your résumé may read something like, “To obtain a position as an Administrative Assistant utilizing organization, time management, and communication skills.” In this case, the bullet point about working in the main office is particularly relevant, while the other two aren’t as much. So, to save space, it’s okay to remove one of them:

  1. Formatting: Condense the contact information in your header to one line

Sometimes all you need is one extra line. A quick and easy way to find an extra line is by reformatting your header, as demonstrated below:

  1. Formatting: Decrease your margins to .5 inches

Finally, one last strategy to get your résumé to fit on one page is to decrease your margin size. Default margins on most computer programs are one inch, but the margins on your résumé can be as small as ½ an inch. Just remember that regardless of what size your margins are, they should be consistent on all four sides of the page.

If you’re interested in more tips about how to get your résumé to fit on one page or would like someone to review it and provide you with some feedback, contact the Center for Career Development and ask about our one-on-one résumé critique service, available Monday – Friday every week.

 

By Lisa Famularo
Lisa Famularo Graduate Assistant Lisa Famularo