One of my former students is in her mid-20s and works as a senior account executive for an agency. She asked me whether to use a second page for her resume and whether to omit her college internships. I turned to Chad Tragakis, a trusted colleague, who is a senior vice president in the Washington, D.C., office of Hill & Knowlton:
“An SAE should limit his or her resume to one page. I would not expect PR professionals to need or warrant a two-page resume until they have been working for 20+ years (e.g., VPs/SVPs with lots of clients/projects to list, at multiple agencies/employers) or unless they have very deep academic or technical expertise that cannot be conveyed on one page (e.g., someone in tech or healthcare PR who needs to list special software or credentials). If she is pushing toward two pages, she is likely going into too much detail in her bullets. She needs to keep them tight, focused and impact oriented.
People are so overloaded; they just won’t read beyond the first page — and even then, they are likely to skim… so it’s important that the resume be formatted with this in mind (e.g., clear, bold headers, bullets, short tight sentences, etc.).
If there is lots of good stuff to tell, she should work some of it into her cover letter or e-mail (for example, a major project she managed, a great client outcome, etc.); just make sure she doesn’t also include these examples in the resume as well.
She shouldn’t arbitrarily take off college internships or experience. It all depends on how relevant they are to what she is aiming for. What may be in order is for her to condense multiple college year experiences/internships into a single line or bullet, somewhere toward the bottom of her experience section — maybe in a section called “Other Experience.” This is actually what I have done on my resume so that I capture what I did, but don’t go into a lot of detail on any one listing. This way, you can introduce and raise these points during the interview.”
Many thanks to Chad Tragakis at Hill & Knowlton for sharing his expertise!