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How long should a CV be?

What’s the best length for a CV? Find out in today’s post, plus our tips on keeping your CV short!

How long should a CV be?

The age-old question for jobseekers is this: How long should a CV be? It’s an important question to ask. If you get this wrong, you risk your job applications ending up in the ‘rejected’ pile.

  • Should your CV be 1 or 2 pages long?
  • What skills should you put on your CV?
  • Tips for keeping your CV short

Should your CV be 1 or 2 pages long?

The best length for a CV is 2 pages – no longer, no shorter. If your CV ends up being longer than 2 pages, the hiring manager is more likely to feel overwhelmed by the amount of information, and struggle to find the relevant details. On the other hand, if your CV is only 1 page long, chances are you’ve not included enough detail to entice the employer to offer you an interview.

What skills should you put on your CV?

It can be tempting to input ALL your skills onto your CV. But you are limited on space so you need to be selective and focus on the most important CV skills. Each CV you submit will vary depending on the job you’re applying for but the key is to focus on the most important skills the employer is looking for, and include those skills on your CV. 

For example, if an employer is looking for someone with excellent organisational and administrative skills, focus on detailing all the ways you practised these skills in your past jobs.

Tips for keeping your CV short

Use bullet points

Bullet points are an essential part of a successful CV. Steer clear of writing long paragraphs to describe your previous work experience. Instead, write 2-5 short bullet points to describe your work experience.

Be selective

Be selective about the jobs you include on your CV. As a general rule of thumb, you don’t need to include any job roles from more than 10 years ago. Equally, you don’t need to include those weekend jobs you had when you were 16 if it’s not relevant to the role you’re applying for. 

Don’t include references

Many jobseekers think they need to include their references on their CV. But this isn’t true! You can remove your references. If an employer wants to carry out a reference check, they’ll simply ask you to provide those details. You don’t even need to include the phrase: ‘References can be provided upon request.’ This is a given!

Use the right font size

If you use a font that’s too big, it won’t be long before your CV is 5 or 6 pages long! Equally, if it’s too small, it will be too difficult for the hiring manager to read and will end up straight in the rejected pile. Use a size 12 font for the body of the text, and use 13 or 14 for headings, but be sure to put any headings in bold too.

Avoid repetition

Look for places in your CV where you’re repeating yourself. Perhaps you’ve talked about one skill multiple times, when it’s only necessary to talk about it once or twice. Or maybe you’re saying the same thing in several different ways. For example, saying you’re ‘highly motivated’ is fine, but then continuing to say you’re a ‘self-starter’ who is ‘driven’ is just repeating yourself unnecessarily.

Short but not too short

When it comes to writing a standout CV, it’s best to keep it short and sweet. But remember not to go so short that it’s only 1 page as this probably won’t get you very far! Get cracking and good luck!

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