How long should a CV be?

close up of a woman in a red skirt holding a CV

 

How long should your CV be?

Your CV needs to be easy to read and give the best possible impression of you, your experience and how well suited you would be to the job you’re applying for.

What’s the purpose of a CV?

A CV – your Curriculum Vitae – is the first step in getting a job. It’s a summary of you and your work experience. It’s how a recruiter will decide whether to put you through to the next round of the recruitment process.

The purpose of your CV, then, is to make it easy for someone to see what makes you suitable for the job.

How long should a CV be?

A common answer to this question is that it should be no longer than two sides of A4 paper. But this dates back to when most recruiters would print off your details. A CV that was three or four pages long would use more paper and potentially get separated in a big pile of job applications.

Many people now review CVs online, so the length is less relevant. The best answer to the question is that your CV should be long enough to contain all the important information, in a concise way. It can help to aim for a two page CV, but if you really can’t include everything, a little longer is fine.

Remember that the hiring manager has to go through dozens of applications and will be making quick decisions about whether you are suitable or not. So an overly long CV where your experience isn’t clear could be more of a hindrance than a help.

Top tips for writing a CV

CVs follow a standard format. Start with your name and contact details, and you might like to add a short personal profile at the top.

Then list your employment history, starting with your current or most recent role. Include job titles and start and end dates. It’s helpful to include a little information about your responsibilities and achievements in your career history. Displaying this as bullet points makes it easy and fast for the reader to understand your skills and knowledge.

You don’t have to list every job you’ve ever had, but do aim to have a full career history. Focus on roles that are relevant to the job you’re applying for. If you have taken a career gap check out this article for more tips on dealing with a career break on your CV.

Make sure you read these expert tips on what employers need to see on your CV. We also have some good advice if you’re changing employment sectors.

Don’t be tempted to write in a ‘fun’ or ‘friendly’ tone on your CV. If you’re going for a job where you feel this is important, use a cover letter to convey personality. Your CV should be professional and factual.

Relevant information to include

Do include your work history, employment dates and job roles. You should also add your professional and academic qualifications. Most people list the schools and colleges they attended, and any other relevant skills or licences.



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