“How long should my CV be?” This is a question that has been pondered for years by jobseekers and is still a cause of debate across the recruitment industry. Although there is no single, definitive rule, the general consensus is that you should try to keep it as close to two pages as you can.
This can be difficult to achieve, especially when you have years of experience you want to show the prospective employer. So, to create an interview-winning CV, it’s vital that you understand the importance of CV length and the need to keep yours short.
Why is brevity important?
To understand how the length of your CV affects your ability to land job interviews, you have to look at it from the point of view of the recruiters. The average recruiter can easily sift through hundreds of CVs a day, so they simply don’t have time to read anything too lengthy. Your document, therefore, needs to be short and sharp to get your message across quickly.
Your CV is like a piece of marketing material that advertises your services to potential employers. You need to ensure that it connects with its audience and tells your story without boring them.
Pare back older roles
One of the easiest ways to shorten a drawn-out CV is to cut descriptions of your older roles to a brief summary. Recruiters do not need to know about what you did 10 years ago in great detail, so there’s no need to go into it. Your recent roles should contain the most detail to highlight the value you can bring to a new employer, but older roles are really just included to show your career path and background. If you’ve got a lot of experience, you can simply list your oldest roles to save space.
Filter out irrelevant details
If you have a broad skill set and lots of career achievements then it’s only natural that you will try to cram them in to make a big impression. However, many jobs will actually call for a very niche set of skills, making some of your attributes surplus to requirement.
Take a good look through the job adverts that you are applying to, and find out what the most sought-after requirements are – if you find that your CV includes a lot of skills or experience that are not being asked for, then you can cut those areas down or remove them from your CV altogether.
If you are applying for a broad range of roles, then it’s OK to have more than one CV, with each tailored towards a particular niche in your industry.
The use of cliches is unfortunately quite common in CVs and hugely disliked by employers. Typical expressions include “works well in a team or individually” and “go-getter with an entrepreneurial mind set”. The reason they are so disliked is that they don’t actually tell the reader much about you and they are often not backed up with any proof. Instead of writing “excellent team leader”, give examples of occasions where you have led teams and highlight details of the results. This way you can prove that you’re an excellent team leader without wasting valuable space on meaningless and overused phrases.
Don’t waste space with personal details
The only personal details that need to be on your CV are name, phone number, email address and rough geographic location – using minimal space at the top of your CV. Recruiters just need to be able to contact you and know roughly where you can commute to – prior to interview, they don’t need to know things like your date of birth and full postal address.You should only include hobbies and interests if they are relevant to the roles you are applying for or if you have any major achievements that might impress potential employers. If you do include interests, keep the section very brief and at the bottom of your CV.