The One Page Résumé

From time to time somebody will convince you to produce a résumé. This is a problem because résumés are awful.

Your résumé is too long, and too generalised. Make it shorter and more specific: A maximum of one single-sided printed page (A4 or U.S. Letter size), tailored to the hiring company.

Why one page?

A résumé should be designed to sell the concept of you working with the hiring company. Design is about compromise: Include only what’s essential.

To compromise you need a constraint. The one page résumé is your constraint.

When you have only one page you must think about more than just words. Think about the font faces, size and colour of those words. Think about the layout of those words on the page. Think about the negative space around those words. Think about design.

One page of words shows respect for the reader’s time and attention. They’re busy. They need help with something. Tell them how you can help each other. And nothing else.

Why tailored?

Hiring is a lot of work. Tailoring your résumé is more effort for you but it makes the hiring process feel more balanced.

Tell them why you should work together: How will you help improve their business? How will they help you improve yourself?

To answer these questions honestly you have to research the hiring company. How do they work? Who do they do business with? How do they make money? What do they value?

Answer these questions, then explain why you’re a good fit. Your honesty, insight and interest will be noticed and appreciated.

And finally…

Be bold and honest.

If, as you design your one page résumé, you don’t feel good about working with the hiring company then don’t apply. You will have learnt something about yourself and saved everybody some time and anxiety.

Try it: Think of your dream job. Now create a one page résumé that gets your foot in the door.