Is your CV too long?

When looking for a job, it can be tempting to pack as much information as possible on your CV in hopes that it will impress your potential employer. This in fact does the complete opposite, as most employers will only spend a few seconds reviewing a resume.

Therefore, it is so important to keep your CV concise, and current.

We generally advise that you should not provide more than two pages worth of information unless your target role being Medical or Managerial and extensive qualifications would need to be listed.

If your CV is too long, here are some ways to keep things concise:

  1. Check your format. Keep your font size to 11 or 12 and avoid big gaps between paragraphs. Read our blog ‘The Perfect CV Layout’ for more helpful tips on this.
  2. Only list qualifications that you have recently obtained, or those that would be relevant to the role you have applied for. For example, listing your University qualification and top 3 A levels, but leave out 11 GCSEs and low-level grades. Or only listing qualifications obtained in IT if that is the sector you are applying for. Also avoid listing all the modules completed in a course.
  3. List your roles from most recent to oldest to keep the newest information at the top of your CV. A general rule is to leave out anything that is older than 10 years, or a maximum of 5 previous jobs, whichever is shorter. For example, if you have been in one role for 6 years, one for 3 years and then your most recent, you can have just those 3
  4. This may not apply to every individual, but if you have a scattered employment history and have only recently been working in your desired sector, you can delete all the ‘random jobs’. This helps create a clearer narrative.

But what if none of my previous jobs are consistent? What if I am applying to jobs in a new sector?

List your previous employment (following point 3) and go into detail about the skills you have learnt from each role. Key skills such as communication, time management and team work are transferable and are just as desirable as practical experience. You could also include a line in your profile to say that you are willing to undergo any training if necessary or include a separate cover letter to explain the interest in a new sector.

  1. You do not need to provide essays on each of your previous roles to explain to the employer what your role was, what it involved and what you learned. Save the bulk of this for the interview process and only include a couple of bullet points.
  2. Again, touching on the ideal layout of your CV. Keep it to a few sections such as: profile, work experience, qualifications, and other. You do not need to include a chunky paragraph of your main objectives or interests and activities.
  3. You do not have to state that ‘references are available on request’ as employers will assume this. If they need reference details, they will ask when the time is appropriate.
  4. Finally, have someone read through your CV to help eliminate any unnecessary information or excessive words and descriptions.

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