My CV – how long should it be?

Q: I haven’t had a CV in years – not since I left school in 1989, and there’s been a lot of water under the bridge in the meantime. I threw it out years ago but I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t be a good place to start as I’ve been reading a lot about the new approach to CVs and I’d welcome some guidance from you on how long you feel a CV should be? (ED, email).

A: In an ideal world, your CV should not exceed two pages. It is your job to distil your CV into as brief a format as possible so that the reader doesn’t have to wade through lots of irrelevant information. We live in an era of reduced attention spans and the requirement to sell yourself quickly and effectively is paramount.

Don’t look upon your CV as a place where you capture every twist and turn of your career to date. It should be a much more tailored document than that and should address the needs of the employer who will read your CV.

How do you find the needs of the employer? That governs everything you do when applying for a job: research their website, talk to people who work there, talk to people who worked there previously, talk to people who work in similar companies.

Through all of this research, you should get to the bottom of what the company is about and, if you can at all, the exact specifics of the role you are pursuing.

Without that kind of research, your CV cannot be a strategic hit on the company that it needs to be to get noticed.


Featured image courtesy of Pixabay.


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