Too Much Information Can Kill Your CV

Dec 2017

When it comes to your CV is there such a thing as too long?  What really is an acceptable length for your CV?  Should your CV really be kept to 2 pages?

Of course there are lots of factors individual to you that will determine this. For example if you have 25 years work experience across multiple firms your CV is going to take a radically different shape to that of a recent graduate looking for their first job. 

Your CV is your marketing tool so think like a marketer, imagine your CV is a TV commercial, how do you get the most relevant information across in the 30 second window whilst competing with the channel-hopping to other CVs and the lure of the kettle for a coffee break?  

Answer: clean, concise, relevant and accurate information.

When that comes to your CV it does not matter if it stretches to 3 or 4 pages - if your audience (recruiters and hiring managers) want to buy the product they will keep reading and resist the urge to flick to another channel.

Think about your headline – why do you have the skills for the particular job? Yes the actual job you are applying for, not just some relevant information about you being a team player but able to work under your own supervision. Anyone can put that, but we want to know how your skills stack up to the job description, a long list of generic skills doesn’t really mean anything.

Get to the pertinent bits first - exactly what have you done? 

  • Management – how many employees?

  • Pitches – how many wins?

  • Account Management – what volume?

  • Administration – was it fast paced/ for senior level management?

  • Projects/Events – were they on time /on budget/ successful? 

Qualifications – do you have the required GCSEs/Degree/Post Grad/Inclusion to the relevant industry body?

Now you have their attention feel free to expand with an itemised career history.  This needs to be in full bullet pointed detail of all your work duties. Expand upon your core skills/duties and try and keep it consistent with previous jobs, i.e. same duties.  This will demonstrate your career progression to date.  
At this point if you find yourself with a CV that is fast approaching a full autobiographical novel then you might consider trimming down the detail of your jobs of distance past particularly the less relevant or those of a much junior level than your most recent posts, summarise these with dates/employer/title and generic skills, if needed a succinct personal summary is sufficient.

Keep it to the point, the hope is that you can elaborate at an interview.

As for the other stuff, take a view. Those embarking on the world of work may like to draw attention to extra-curricular activities which demonstrate skills and commitment which could be transferred to the workplace and the role, however  your work experience is more relevant than the Duke of Edinburgh Awards and a full clean driving licence!

So be your own brand advocate, market yourself well and no one will care if your CV is 1 page or 20 (well actually maybe keep it to 4 pages!). Next week – is the 4 page CV a myth?

  • Lexcel

Our sister company Hudson York Farrell
specialises in commercial recruitment


Our sister company Career Legal
specialises in legal recruitment

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