A Guide to the Optimal Length and Structure of a CV
How Long Should a CV be?
A question which is always naturally raised is how long a CV should be. We always say that a CV should be 2 pages maximum and no longer, regardless of the number of years of experience you have. It can sometimes be a challenge to fill 2 pages however, especially if you little work experience. In this case, if a 1 page CV can be created, this can be looked upon favourably by recruiters and hiring managers. For graduates, a lot of internship roles or programmes do sometimes ask for a 1 pager specifically, so it can be helpful to create variations of your CV.
Guidelines on CV Structure
As a rule of thumb, as mentioned above, 2 pages should be the maximum length of a CV, irrespective of your career experience in years. This will demonstrate your background in a concise and clear way, without any duplication or repetition. Recruiters only take around 3-4 seconds to read CVs (once they have passed through ATS systems), hence it is essential to keep it short, sharp and punchy with strong points.
Also, when it comes to hiring managers, they will tend not to read all the way through to a third page or beyond. Remember, a when writing a CV, it is important to bear in mind that it is a snapshot of your background, not a portfolio. It is at interview stage where you would expand upon all detail and ultimately secure the role. The purpose of a professional CV is to get that initial response and get your foot in the door.
Length of a CV and Correlation to Strength
A lot of individuals tend to wrongly think that more detail within a CV, and further extension into 3 or 4 pages will give it more weight and chance of response. This unfortunately is not the case - it is in fact the opposite: employers will not want to trawl through pages and pages of detail, especially when they have a lot of CVs to review. They will want to know at a glance, how your skills and experience match and then get more information from you during interview. It is always a fine balance between including too much and too little detail, however using a CV writing service with professional writers can help you to get this right, first time.
Should I not Include Details of Earlier Roles?
Once you have detailed your most recent positions with the right level of information with respect to achievements and responsibilities, and you are inching towards the 2 page maximum constraint - you can simply summarise earlier positions. Naturally, as these are earlier in your career, it is likely that they were at a much lower level of experience compared to where you are now as well. Generally, roles 10 or 15 years and older tend not to hold as much weight or merit either, so this is another reason why you would not need to add in responsibilities going back that far.
Overall, you want to ensure that your CV is the right length, with the appropriate level of detail which will warrant a recruiter to contact you and forward your CV to an employer for consideration. With our CV writing service packages we cater for all industries, sectors and levels of experience, so we can ensure your CV is absolutely perfect - in line with expectations.
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