A one column or two column resume?

Resumes play an important role in the hiring process. As an employee seeking for a job opportunity, the course of your career path will rely on the kind of resume you submit.

Some organizations emphasize a specific resume format. However, other organizations or employers accept any resume format whether it is a one-column or a two-column resume format.  Therefore, it is important that an interviewee design a resume format that suits the desires of an interviewer. Nevertheless, in the modern world, the two-column resume layout is slowly replacing the traditional one-column resume layout for various advantageous reasons as discussed in this article. Despite this, the two resume layouts are equally important.

One-column resume layout

The most common and traditional resume layout is the single column resume. This resume format allows an individual to write all the personal information beginning from biodata, academic qualifications, skills, employment history, and hobbies among others in one column. Single column format is arguably the most detailed resume format as it gives the applicant a room to exhaust all the information needed from a wider perspective. The figure below illustrates an example of a single column resume.


The single column resume is advantageous in the following ways:

  • They are friendly and work well with the Applicant Tracking System.

Keeping in mind that ATS systems are designed to scan standard resumes, they scan from right to left picking important information including contact details and skills. Therefore, developing your resume in a one column layout will ensure that the ATS system scans the relevant information in a clear way.

  • Interviewers will always look for standard resumes.

Therefore, traditional one column resumes are easier to skim through and get the valuable information they are looking for. Therefore, it is essential that applicants consider designing single column resumes ensuring that hiring managers get an easier time when skimming through them.

  • One column resume is not subject to distortion when received by the end user.

This means that one column resumes are convenient to read both as a word document and a PDF file, unlike the two-column resume format which may only be interpreted as a PDF file.


  • One column resume consumes a lot of space.

This can lead to paper space wastage. Whenever an applicant is designing a resume, it is advisable to list skills and other reasonable components such as hobbies by the use of bullets.  In a single column resume, this will waste a lot of space as only a little space will be covered by content and the rest left blank.

  • The applicant focuses on a detailed description.

Notwithstanding brief and easy to understand descriptions, employers always look for specific items in a resume. Therefore, by writing too many words do not allow them to navigate easily. In this way, employers may end up missing important points in an applicant's resume which could be available but difficult to figure out.

  • One column resumes require a lot of time to read through

This may be laborious. Consider an organization which receives a thousand resumes per day, and all of them have to be reviewed. There is a possibility that the hiring managers of these organizations only skim through resumes in seconds and it is by the encounter of the key skills they are looking for that will determine whether they will come back to your resume later for interviews or not. Therefore, reading through a single column resume becomes tedious.

  • One column resumes are not attractive and appealing to the eye.

An attractive and well-designed resume will catch an employer’s attention hence giving it a chance to be considered.

Two-column resume layout

A two-column resume layout which is also referred to as one page two column resume is a brief resume layout which focuses on presenting all the information on a single page. Also known as a double column resume layout, it is suitable for those individuals who are well versed in technology. Such individuals may include graphic designers and Information Technology experts. The figure below is an example of a double column resume.

Advantages of a two column resume

  • Two column resumes are always less wordy and specific to the point.

For instance, when an individual who has been an Information Technology expert for several years in a certain company decides to apply for the same job in another company, it is unnecessary to focus much on the job description. However, the individual will focus much on skills. This will be more presentable in a double column resume format.

  • One page two column resume format is attractive and presentable.

An employer will always find a two-column resume format appealing to the eye. This may give an applicant's resume some sense of uniqueness hence being put into consideration.

  • It is clear and brief.

This ensures that the applicant focuses on career qualifications and experiences other than unnecessary information that may be tiresome to read.

  • A two-column resume offers an applicant room to format information.

You can format your sections with ease and neatly and flexibly arrange the resume in presentable subsections.

Disadvantages of a two column resume

  • The one page two column resumes are not compatible with most ATS systems

They may become irrelevant as the system cannot read them.

  • The two column resumes are subject to distortion.

Key Takeaways

  • The choice of the resume should depend on both the applicant's and employer's preferences.
  • Before choosing a resume format, one should consider the outcomes of a one column resume vs. a two-column resume whenever used.
  • However, it is advisable that whenever applying for a job, the default format should be the one column resume format.
  • For graphic designers and IT experts, it is advisable to use a two-column resume format.
  • Individuals should ensure that they apply resume builders for perfect format results.
  • When coming up with a one column resume format, it is good to use a one column resume builder.
  • Likewise, when coming up with a two column resume builder, it is advisable to use a two-column resume builder.
  • You may use Hiration's online resume builder with both single column resume builders and double column resume builders.