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What is the ideal CV length?

What is the ideal CV length?

CV Advice

 

 

 

in association with CV Centre

 

We have seen CVs over 30 pages long (true!), with photocopied certificates on top of that. This is not an autobiography you’re writing. It’s a curriculum vitae and it’s meant to be a lot shorter! A one-page CV if it is feasible is recommended – and some recruitment agencies, especially head-hunters, may insist on a one-page CV.

Failing that, two pages is entirely acceptable and in certain circumstances, it may be acceptable for a CV to run to three pages - but only for certain special cases, e.g. a medical CV where multiple qualifications and experience must be provided in detail.

People often feel that a one-page CV is worth less than a two-pager but this is definitely not true. It is much better to have a good, strong one-page CV than a two-page one that is padded out with unnecessary information. You should always be aiming to exclude irrelevant information which may detract from other more important points.

Often a CV which has been spread out over two pages can, with a little careful tweaking, be made to fit onto one page – and this tends to have greater impact. It is of course important not to force a CV unnecessarily onto one page when two pages would be better but a 1½ page CV tends to look incomplete and weak.

Finished CV longer than two pages?
There’s only one answer to this question – unless you fall into a "special case" as outlined above, you need to keep working on your CV until you’ve reduced it to the standard two pages.

Take a long, hard look at your CV and consider:

  • Removing some of the less important points you’ve made
  • Finding ways to communicate the same points more concisely
  • Ruthlessly eliminating all unnecessary words and phrases
  • Axing non-essential sections, for example your Objectives
  • Placing your Interests & Activities under Other Details
  • Changing the design and page layout to create more space
  • Editing, rewriting, polishing and perfecting until it fits!

Regardless of the length, do make sure that all your most important information is conveyed on the first page or, for a one-page CV, in the top half of the page – because too many recruiters simply won’t always look any further. 

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