Writing a resume: how long should your CV be?

When writing a resume, one of the most frequent uncertainties is how long should it be? The answer? One page.

Before we go any further, industry specific and academic CVs are quite a different matter - this advice is for general CV writing.

Many career advisors will say that two or three pages is fine, while others while answer with the very irritating: 'How long is a piece of string?'

But most CEOs and successful businesspeople have a one page CV. This is not a coincidence: in business, you need to cut the crap. There's no time to muck around.

When a recruiter picks up your resume, they'll spend an average of 7.5 seconds on it. What they see has to make an impact, so you need to make sure that your CV is a summary of your most impressive achievements.

Here are some tips to keep it brief:

  • Don't write 'CV' at the top - use your name as the title
  • Put your contact details in a header
  • Use a table (with hidden lines) to maximise space and keep the layout tidy
  • Limit the objective to one sentence
  • Only include relevant qualifications and experience
  • Cut out any fillers like 'hard working'
  • Concentrate on practical skills and abilities
  • Don't write about your hobbies or interests
  • Don't include references or write that they are 'available on request' - this is a given

Remember,you do not have to fit everything in to your resume - leave some information to discuss at the job interview!


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