Writing Tips for a Solid Two-Column Resume

To fit a lot of work experience on your resume, use a two-column format. Here’s how to write the best two-column resume for your next job search.



Table of Contents

  1. What is a Two-column Resume?
  2. Benefits of a Two-column Resume
  3. Drawbacks to Using a Two-column Resume Format
  4. FAQs: Two Column Resume

Two-Column Resume Example

Two Column Resume Example RH 1 min
Resume example using Providence template with blue heading
Resume example using Revival template with blue side bar
Resume example using the Splendid template

Two Column Resume

One of the biggest challenges attached to resume writing is trying to fit all of the relevant information into a single page. This only becomes more difficult as a job seeker gains work experience, skills, and professional certifications. A two-column resume design can be the perfect solution for those looking for mid-level to senior-level positions that require specialized training and experience. Here’s what you need to know about two-column resume layouts.


What is a Two-column Resume?

A two-column resume uses two distinct columns on a single page. Many job seekers who use a two-column format for a resume or cover letter do so because they want to fit more information onto the page. These resumes are best for people who have a lot of professional experience. If your job hunt is focused on mid to senior-level job titles, then a two-column layout could be the best choice. You can use a two-column layout no matter what resume format you choose, but a functional resume format may be less well suited to this layout because of its focus on skills. If you choose a chronological resume format, however, then using two columns could help you include more skills alongside your experience.

Benefits of a Two-column Resume

There are some benefits of choosing a two-column format, especially if you use an appropriate one-page resume template. The most notable benefits of using a two-column modern resume are: 
Easy to read
When the layout is a clever two-column layout, it can create an intuitive and simple resume that is easy to scan. If your resume content is easy to scan quickly, then hiring managers will find your job application far more attractive. After all, they have very little time to consider each application. 
Contains only key information
Though a two-column layout can contain more information than a single-column layout, it also encourages job seekers to be selective about what information is involved. The narrow nature of the columns that creates a distinct resume look also makes concise sentences necessary.
Shows off design flair and stands out
If you are applying for creative roles in fields like graphic design, then a two-column layout could help you showcase your creative skills. A single-column resume is fairly simple to create, but unless you use a resume template, a two-column resume can be more difficult. If you can create an attractive and effective two-column resume in Google Docs, then a hiring manager will certainly take notice.

Drawbacks to Using a Two-column Resume Format

There are pros and cons to using either a basic resume or a two-column resume format. Here are the benefits and drawbacks of a two-column resume format:
Not as ATS-Friendly
Before your resume ever reaches a hiring manager, it will usually have to pass through an applicant tracking system (ATS). This could be a serious issue for a two-column resume, especially if it has not been properly formatted, as ATS systems often struggle to scan these kinds of layouts. However, you can make an ATS-friendly resume with two columns by using clear headers for each section. 
Uncommon Layout
Because a two-column resume layout is fairly uncommon, it may throw off some recruiters and lead to them having a negative view of the application. Of course, you can minimize the likelihood of this impacting your chance of getting a new job by using a professional resume template. You can get access to a range of free templates via the ResumeHelp resume builder.

FAQs: Two Column Resume

Q: Do I need to match my cover letter to a two-column resume?

It is advisable to use a matching cover letter and resume templates, but you should not emulate the two-column format in your cover letter. Your cover letter should maintain the same basic structure as any other business letter to ensure that your job application looks professional.

Q: How can you make a two-column resume?

The easiest way to create an effective two-column resume is to use formatting tools. Microsoft Word has simple tools that can split a document into two distinct columns to ensure, or just use one of ResumeHelp’s professionally designed two-column templates.

Q: Where can I find free resume templates?

ResumeHelp’s resume builder tool has a range of free two-column resume templates to choose from. There are templates to suit every resume design and industry.


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