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Andrew Arkley|January 29, 2021

How Many Pages Should A CV Be? Our Guide To CV Length

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Creating a CV can quickly become a frustrating task, especially if you are an individual with extensive experience or with little to no experience. 

Those with extensive experience often struggle to be selective in what they include, while those with little experience can have difficulty filling one page. 

The question that naturally arises is: how many pages should a CV be in order to present a professional presence?

In this blog, we’ll advise on how long a CV should be and offer a few tips to make sure you can achieve the ideal length for your curriculum vitae.

How many pages should a CV be? General guidelines

As a general rule, you should focus on maintaining a two page CV. 

A two page CV presents your experience and key assets to the employer without boring them with unnecessary or repetitive material.

It is reported that recruiters spend on average 5-7 seconds looking at a CV, so first impressions really do matter!

Of course, the exception to this general guideline would be for individuals with extensive and relevant career experience, as well as senior-level individuals. 

In such cases, you may want to expand on each job title in more detail on your capabilities to successfully fulfil the position offered.

CV length does not merit value

A common misconception is that the longer the CV, the more weight a potential client will give it. 

This is not necessarily true; an employer is more interested in whether you possess the specific skills to perform the role to their standards.

For example, a CV for a senior position in the medical profession would not necessarily need to show experience as a shop assistant. 

If you can present experience that’s more relevant to the position, use your limited space to talk about this instead.

However, entry-level individuals often don’t have the work experience to fill multiple pages with relevant content. 

The challenge that arises here is presenting enough relevant information to persuade potential employers that you’re competent enough for the job title.

Often, an entry-level individual will present lower-level jobs to stretch out their CV length and exceed one page. For example, they may show how they have worked in various retail positions on their CV. 

This is fine for establishing a consistent work history, but has little merit to the hiring manager when applying for a position in a completely different field. 

Entry-level candidates should focus more on their education and skill sets over their employment history to show that they will be able to do the role. A strong one page CV with punchy bullet points is preferable to a weak two or three page CV full of filler or irrelevance, in the eyes of a hiring manager.

How long should a CV be? Experience vs. history

Experience shows that you have the ability to perform the job you’re applying for.

However, filling the page with various experiences is something you should do with care. For example, pay attention to when you gained the experience. 

Similarly, consider whether jobs and experiences with little or no direct connection to the potential job are worth including. The job description comes into play here. Do the listed responsibilities match with your previous experiences in some way?

As a general rule, you should omit experiences over 10-years-old that don’t hold critical merit or establish a constant work history.

Focus on presenting recent, relevant experience that ensures your skillset is remembered and showcases your ability to fulfil the role. 

If you’re struggling to fit everything you want to say within the length of your CV, you may be able to expand on your key points further in your cover letter. Be concise in your CV so that a hiring manager can scan for relevant information, such as contact details and key skills, within a few seconds. 

The rule of 3 for CV writing

When sectioning off your CV, a good practice is to follow the rule of three:

  • In the personal statement, focus on how you can fulfil at least three expectations of the position you’re applying for
  • Limit experience to the three most recent positions you’ve held – unless you have specific, relevant experience suited to the job
  • Each section will have more than three points – these should expand on your abilities whilst maintaining the CV’s overall clarity

How many pages should a CV be? In summary 

The questions ‘how many pages should a CV be’ and ‘how long should a CV be’ are common among job hunters.

Overall, you want to ensure that you do not present a CV that’s too short. .

Conversely, CVs spanning more than 4 pages should be reduced so they’re easy-to-read and not overbearing or cluttered.

In most cases, the ideal CV length is 2 pages, so try to achieve that length while keeping it concise and relevant. Tailor the CV to each job description, and if more space is needed remember that you have a cover letter to sell your professional experience also.

With CV writing packages catering to all career levels and industries, PurpleCV can ensure your CV is the ideal length.

We’ll ensure that your experience, education and qualifications are tailored to the skill set required for the job, and that you are presented as someone who will benefit the employer. 

Check out our CV writing services or contact us today!

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