Can your CV or resume be three pages long? – CV Nation

Can a CV or resume be three pages long?

Posted by Phillip Jewell on

Most people will tell you that your CV should be no more than two pages long. Buy many job seekers struggle to write a CV that is only two pages long. Trying to condense all your achievements, skills and experiences into just two pages can seem like an impossible task.

Three-page CVs and resumes are acceptable. In fact, one-page, two-page and three-page CVs are all absolutely fine. In most cases you should aim for two pages, because two-page CVs make for a better reading experience. They are generally more concise. But if you want to use an extra page to expand on your experiences or draw attention to your less recent roles, it’s perfectly OK to do so.

However, it’s always beneficial to try to trim your CV down. In general, recruiters and hiring managers prefer concise two-page documents. Two-page CVs are usually easier to read and contain less redundant information. But if you can’t trim your CV down to two pages, then it is acceptable to extend the document to three pages.


In most cases, you can determine the ideal length of your CV or resume based on your career level.

Graduates/School Leavers - If you’re a graduate or a school leaver with little to no work experience, a one-page CV will often be appropriate. Although, graduates often require two pages in order to showcase they key aspects of the education, such as university projects, modules undertaken and dissertation details.

Mid-Level Professionals - For those at mid-level, a two-page CV is most common. This provides you with adequate space to articulate your key experiences, skills and achievements.

Director/Executives/C-Level Professionals - CVs for directors, executives and C-level professionals are often longer than two pages in length, but ideally they should not exceed three pages. Even if you have a multitude of experiences and achievements that you want to convey in your CV, try not to exceed three pages. By using concise writing and professional formatting, you will be able to prepare a CV that showcases your key experiences while not extending over three pages.

If your CV is over three pages long, think about whether all the content is relevant. Evaluate where you are in your career and come to a conclusion regarding the importance of the information in your CV in relation to the role you are pursuing.

Standard CV Length Based on Career Level

Please note, the image above indicates the most common CV length based on career level. These are not requirements or rules.


Don’t feel the need to include everything

One of the most challenging aspects of CV writing is identifying the information that doesn’t need to be included in your CV. While you may feel the urge to detail every aspect of your career in your CV, it’s vital that the document is concise. And concise CVs are brief.

It’s important to note that you can still be comprehensive while being brief. The very definition of concise is ‘brief but comprehensive’. By using small amounts of information, you are still able to articulate your experiences to an extensive degree.

If your CV reads like a job description, it’s usually a sign that you need to cut down on some of the content. If your CV has long lists of writing, similar to a job description, try to use more polished writing that draws attention to the key information in just a line or two.

You don’t need to highlight all of your duties or every project you worked on. While these surely are important in demonstrating your role, hiring managers and recruiters would have an unpleasant time crawling through all this information.

So evaluate your career and select the information that you feel is going to make the strongest impact on hiring managers.

Of course, hiring managers will be most interested in reading about information that is directly relevant to the type of work you are applying for. For example, if you’re applying for a role as a sales manager but have less recent experience in engineering, your engineering experience is going to be less relevant.

That’s not to say that less relevant experiences can’t add value to your CV. But be aware that your more recent work experiences are more important to the reader.

CVs for certain professions should never be three pages long

If you’re writing an acting CV – usually referred to as an acting resume – you should never exceed one page. Aditionally, modelling CVs should be one page long.

CVs for certain professions can be longer than three pages

If you’re writing a medical CV, your CV might extend to as long as eight pages. This is because you will likely include long lists of conferences and publications.

Other CVs that are usually longer include CVs for researchers, scientists and professors.

Sometimes there are specific rules about CV length

Some recruiters won’t accept CVs over a certain length. While this is rare and most recruiters will accept CVs at any length, it should be noted that some recruiters will ask for CVs to be no longer than three pages.

How to reduce the length of your CV

Microsoft Word’s standard margins are wide, so you can reduce the margins on all sides of your CV to as low as 1.5 centimetres. This will provide you with more space on the pages.

You may also want to reduce the font size, although we don’t recommend going any lower than 9.5. Ensure to use professional fonts that are easy to read, such as Calibri, Arial or Times New Roman.

If you’re still not hitting your page limit after reducing the margin and font sizes, it’s time to start identifying the content that is most relevant. Think about reducing content from your positions that are less recent

Additionally, if a significant portion of your CV’s space is taken up with interests, consider removing them. We don’t usually recommend including interests for this very reason. They take up too much valuable space and they don’t add any value to your CV, unless they are unique and in some way connected to your profession.

For example, if you’re pursuing work as a diver and one of your hobbies is scuba diving, you should absolutely draw attention to your scuba diving activities. But there is no need to take up valuable space on your CV to write about your interest in movies and socialising. These interests are generic and they're not going to intrigue the reader.

Some people argue that interests are a great way of showcasing your personality and uniqueness. However, the aim of your CV isn’t to form a picture of your personality. As this stage of the application process, you’re simply trying to encourage the hiring manager or recruiter to believe in your ability to add value as an employee.

So, unless your hobbies and interests are relevant to the role you are targeting, remove them from your CV.

Conclusion

Can your CV be three pages long? Yes. In most cases, recruiters have no rules about CV length. Two-page CVs are recommended because they are concise and make for a more pleasant reading experience. Don’t exceed three pages unless you’re writing a CV that requires the inclusion of multiple publications, conferences etc.


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