How many pages should your CV be?

How many pages should my cv be

Deciding on how many pages your CV should be is an age old task. I’ve experienced a multitude of ‘advice’ on this particularly grey area of CV writing and resume making. The CV advice I have been given varies from people INSTRUCTING me to create a CV with just one page of short and sharp pieces of information about your experiences and qualifications, or conversely some people say that you should simply apply as much detail as possible to your CV, irrespective of how many pages your CV should be or is. I’ve recently ran a poll to ask you, the reader, ‘How many pages should a CV be?‘ You can have your say on how many pages your CV is and indeed vote and view the results of the poll. There is also a CV video tutorial available advising how many pages a CV should be.

If you find yourself asking “how many pages should my CV be?”, then you should find this article very useful because in this article I will be discussing in detail how many pages your CV should be, including the rationale behind the advice and concluding the article with detailing how many pages MY CV is. In due course, there will be CV templates and resume templates available for different sized CVs for you to base your CV size decision and CV content on.

The very first thing to consider when asking yourself “how many pages should I make my CV” is really how many pages of someone’s experience of work, life and qualifications you as an ’employer’ would like to read? It’s essential that you look at your CV profile from a neutral and employer perspective and it’s fair to say if you would not read or skim through a 10 page CV, that your curriculum vitae shouldn’t be 10 pages? Having said that, if you would read every word of a 1-page resume, you can probably afford to expand your CV to be more than one page.

Second thing to consider is who you are targeting with your CV profile/s. I would always recommend sending out quality over quantity of job applications and CV profiles to employers. What I’m saying here is that I would always recommend taking the time to tailor your CV or resume to the industry, job type and employer right from the first to last word on your CV profile. For the purposes of understanding the ‘bespoke CV’ factor in a CV size context or discussion,  you should consider who will be reading your profile. If you are of the opinion that the reader is likely to skim read, clearly a shorter CV is better in this instance. If you believe that the intended reader will be more attentive and meticulous to applications and the profiles are on offer, then more detail will be required and hence a larger curriculum vitae is advised.

When looking at this aspect in your decision making, taking a look at the job type that you’re applying to is obviously very important as this will have a factor on how attentively a reader will review the CV profiles. For example, should you be the best cleaner in the world and wish to portray this in your resume profile when applying to cleaning jobs, it’s highly likely that the volume of applicants will be significantly higher due to the non-technical nature and widely available labour available for this job. In this instance I’d highly recommend a short sharp snappy, but concise and well written one page profile. (I’d actually recommend just simply calling up the employer and having chat rather than sending your CV profile, but you get the idea of what I’m saying here). Conversely if you’re a hugely successful technical project business change director of sorts, and are applying for high end positions within prestigious clients where a lot of due care and attention will be paid to the profiles that are in the mix, then a one page CV will be highly unlikely to be a successful approach, probably a bigger curriculum vitae profile will be sufficient in size.

Often industries have trends for how large a curriculum vitae should be. From my experience, anyone who works in an office capacity is likely to be more interested in a small to medium sized CV. This is because someone who is accustomed to reading text in volume such as on paper documents or on their computer will probably skim read, which means a large CV would not be suitable. Whereas for something like the IT industry, where you may have possibly hundreds of technical items of experience, a longer CV may be advised because IT industry workers tend to pay more attention to detail due to the nature of their work, the same arguably applies to the accountancy industry.

Another thing to consider, and probably the most important factor in deciding how many pages you should make a CV, is your depth of experience. If you have a lot of experience it is likely that a larger CV is more appropriate whereas if you’re young or have little experience relevant to the area of business that you’re applying for then a smaller CV will be much better. Employers do not like it when people pad out their experience simply to fill space, it’s a total waste of their time. Do not repeat or duplicate your experience or qualifications and do not write open ended conversational descriptions about your experience. Often listing with a short description will more than suffice.

How big should my CV be? Speaking from a total general perspective and baring in mind the HUGE amount of experience that I have in reviewing CVs, the average CV should be 2-4 pages in length if your CV content text size is based at size 10-12 on a normal font. For most jobs within the world where a resume is needed, a CV 2-4 pages in length will be more than enough to detail your expertise, particularly the recent experience.

My CVs for most of the positions that I have applied to within my career have been 2-4 pages in length without exception. However I’m relatively young and have worked mainly from an office and so my experience is relatively modest and my target reader likely to skim read and not be interested in a large CV. I could certainly have legitimately made my CV up to ten pages in length if I thought that necessary, however in my opinion this was not required.

Summary

1) Use your judgement

2) Tailor your CV size to the job you’re targetting

3) Consider the main factors when deciding how long to make your CV:

  • How much your target will likely read
  • How many people are likely to be applying to the position
  • What industry of work you are applying to
  • How much experience you actually have
  • How much information is actually required for the position

4) Don’t duplicate experience or qualifications

5) Don’t ‘pad out’ you CV with unnecessary information or chat

6) Use a ‘list’ approach to writing your experience on your CV, with a short description if required

7) Be honest in your approach and take an external employer perspective. If you read your CV and it something seems wrong, then something IS wrong

8) If you are still unsure, base your CV on being 2-4 pages in size and you will be along the right lines. If in doubt, get second opinions and ask for feedback from people

The bottom line is that there are no absolute or real / correct answers to the question ‘how long should I make my CV?’ because each employer will prefer different things and have different opinions on this matter. The best advice that I could offer is to simply use educated judgement and if it feels right and you are proud of your CV or Resume, or you get good feedback from it then it is probably an acceptable or good length.

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About howtomakeacv
Tips | Advice | Help on how to make a CV | Curriculum Vitae | Resume howtomakeacv.wordpress.com youtube.com/howtomakeacv twitter.com/howtomakeacv howtomakeacv@gmail.com

3 Responses to How many pages should your CV be?

  1. howtomakeacv says:

    Please let me know your feedback and thoughts on the content here. Many thanks. :D

  2. Pingback: Planning your CV « howtomakeacv

  3. Pingback: How to layout a CV | best way to layout a CV « howtomakeacv

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