An excellent CV does not have to be long. A concise CV that has relevant information is all you need to grab the attention of recruiters. According to a recent study, recruiters are more than twice as likely to hire someone with a two-page CV than someone whose CV is just one page.
Most recruiters consider a two-page CV because it sufficiently accommodates all the critical information a professional CV must-have. Most recruiters preferring a two-page CV is a clear indicator of how crucial it is to keep your CV short and relevant.
Basically, many factors determine the length of your CV. The job you are applying for, your experience, and the industry are some of the things that will determine how short or long your CV will be.
Often, when every section of a CV is included, and relevant information added, around 90% of applicants have a CV that is one to two pages long. There are a few cases where a three or more-page CV is acceptable.
Table of Contents
One-page CV: When is appropriate?
You recently graduated from school: After college, it will be hard to fill more than one page. This is because you have less experience, and the only things your CV can feature is your school projects, classwork, extracurriculars, and advanced courses. So, it is best to stick to the one-page CV.
You have less than two years of work experience: Two years is such a short period to have enough experience to fit in a multi-page CV. If applying for a similar position to the one you currently hold and you have less than two years of work experience, keep your CV to one page. Only include relevant experience and omit anything else that is not related.
When taking a new career path: Are you shifting to a new career path that does not require your past work experience? If so, then keep your CV to one page. For example, if applying to become a content writer, and you have been a system administrator, then your previous experience does not count as much. In such a case, it is best to stick to a one-page CV.
Two-page CV: When to write one?
You are (or were) an outstanding student: Do you have a list of awards, honors, projects, and work experience which cannot fit on just one-page CV? Then it is ok to prepare a two-page one.
You have more than two years of experience: If you have more than two years of experience, it is appropriate to prepare a two-page CV. Once you have many years of experience, restricting yourself to a single page CV though possible, will only result in a document that is not appealing to recruiters.
Three pages: When it is ideal?
Sometimes your CV will fit in three or more pages. Don’t panic if you find you have more pages than you think. It is also ok to have a three or more pages CV if you are a doctor, researcher, professor, or any other profession that requires many licenses and certificates. But this does not mean you list all the information you have. Only include the most relevant information and omit everything else.
When applying for a job with the government: Another reason why you may have a multi-page CV is when applying for a job with the government. Often governments tend to be rigid and bureaucratic. That said, it worth to include all the information you deem necessary to meet the requirements.
What about a four-page CV?
As we said before, sometimes it is ok to have more pages. But it is good to remember to include only relevant information. By adding only appropriate information, it is easier to keep your CV short and appealing.
Basically, it is hard actually to say how long your CV should be. This is because what you include in your CV is totally different from what another candidate will add. So, if contemplating a four-page CV or less, it is best to start by including everything that is appropriate. Then consider tweaking you copy until you have a simplified, easy to read, and attractive final copy.
How long is too long?
For quite a long time, the rule of thumb has been that your CV must not exceed one page. But since some people change their careers often, accumulating more accomplishments and more certifications, it has continued to be challenging to fit all that information on a one-page CV. But does it mean your CV needs to be fit on four or more pages?
While you may have a lot of information you find relevant, recruiters are most interested in the most recent ten years of your career. This means any other experience, no matter how appealing it is to you, avoid it as it of no value to recruiters.
Now considering that recruiters spend a few seconds on a single CV before deciding whether it is worth or not. Restricting your CV to information recruiters can grasp at first glance is very crucial.
So, the long answer to how long is your CV depends on how much information recruiters can grab at first glance. So, while you have more relevant information to fit in your CV, always remember to recruiters are also human. You include more information; your CV looks wordy, and it may never go past the first review stage. Just try your best to keep it short and relevant by trimming all unnecessary information.
How to trim your CV?
Change the template: Different templates have different requirements. For example, shifting from a template with a lot of whitespaces to a simpler one can help reduce a multiple pages CV to a single or two-page one.
Edit for focus: This simply means only adding information relevant to the recruiters and skipping any other information. If you focus on the job description, it is easier to trim your CV.
While it is recommended to aim for fewer pages, there is no harm having more pages as long as you have added relevant information. Reviewing your CV several times will always help you have a more appealing copy to share with potential recruiters. Alternatively, you can hire a professional writer if you find it challenging to prepare a professional CV.