The perfect length for a CV has always been a hotly debated topic, but the truth is that there’s no one-size-fits-all answer. Clearly, 50 pages is too long and two sentences is too short, but there’s no hard and fast rule. As a rule of thumb, one to three pages generally suits most people.
Let’s find out which CV length is right for you.
How long should a CV be for an entry-level role?
If you’re just
beginning your career journey, a one-page CV is usually sufficient. It’s long enough to show off your education, personality and skills, whilst avoiding waffle and repetition. Recruiters can spot that a mile off! Don’t drag your CV out to two pages just because you heard that it’s the “right” length for a CV. The right length for a CV is personal to you and your career.
How long should a CV be for a mid-career professional?
Two pages is generally considered the ideal length for a CV once you’re established in your career. That should give you enough space to highlight your experience, achievements and progression, whilst respecting the reader’s time. If it’s well-thought-through, a two-page CV is feasible for most people.
How long should a CV be for senior executives?
Can a CV be more than two pages if you’re a senior executive? Ideally not. If you can outline your career in two pages, then you absolutely should – concise beats wordy any day. However, if you really feel like you’d be selling yourself short if you don’t use a third page, then go ahead.
Too many jobs?
Contractors, serial job hoppers and temps, among others, may feel that the sheer number of roles they’ve held means that they need additional space. However, longer CVs are rarely needed if they’re well-written and concise. If possible, try to stick to two pages and only spill onto a third if you really feel like you have no alternative – but check out the hints and tips below to see if there’s any way you can keep to two pages first. It’s important that you don’t put off a recruiter by presenting a huge stack of information for them to wade through.
How can I make my CV longer?
If you’re struggling to fill a page, it’s likely that you don’t have much professional experience. Ask yourself these questions to make sure you’re telling the recruiter everything they need to know to make an informed decision:
- Have you remembered to add a
- Did you add enough detail to your professional experience?
- Have you considered
voluntary work that you could add?
- Have you taken on any responsibilities at college, at university or in extra-curricular clubs?
- Did you include your
successes and achievements, as well as your responsibilities, for every job?
- Is your education section detailed enough? Did you add university modules, projects, theses and skills acquired?
- Are there any
skills associated with your hobbies that you could add?
- What can you offer, that other applicants potentially can’t? For example, IT applications you can use, languages you know and so on
How can I make my CV shorter?
A far more common problem is having to cram years of experience onto a few pages. When you have a significant amount of experience under your belt, it can seem impossible to fit everything in! Try these hacks to make your CV a more appropriate length:
- Less is more – there’s no need to include every single detail of your career, so be selective
- Save something for interview – just give an overview of the scope and general remit of your jobs
- Avoid repetition by grouping similar jobs together under one heading
- Summarise any roles you held over 10 years ago – it’s your recent career that people are most interested in
- Don’t include a reason for leaving any job
- Include only your highest-level qualification
- Tailor the CV to every application, removing irrelevant detail from the master CV each time
Your ultimate objective is to grab the recruiter’s attention and influence them to progress your application. Try to
lay out your CV so that you make full use of the space available. Having a few lines dangling at the top of a new page, or a page that finishes half-way down, doesn’t look great and shows a certain lack of attention to detail. Buy yourself some wiggle-room with these tips on making your CV fit the page perfectly:
- Adjust the font size (not so tiny that it’s unreadable or so large that you look like a clown, though!)
- Adjust the page margins
- Add plenty of white space
- Avoid solid walls of text – bullet point instead where appropriate
- Play with the size of the headers
If you’re still wondering how long a CV should be, remember the golden rule – there’s no perfect length. As long as you’re telling the reader enough to pique their interest but not drowning them in detail, you’re probably on the right track. If you’re still unsure and want more input on your CV, please send it to CV Shed for a
FREE review or a full rewrite – I’m looking forward to hearing from you!