How Long Should a CV Be? (A Helpful, Illustrated Guide to CV Length) – CV Nation

How Long Should a CV Be? - The Complete Guide to CV Length

Posted by Phillip Jewell on

When you're applying for a new job and preparing to write your CV, you might be wondering how long should it be.

The question of CV and resume length can be confusing for job seekers. There are a number of varying opinions on the topic. Even if you seek CV advice from professionals, you end up with a few different answers.

Some will be adamant that a two-page CV is ideal. Others will tell you a one-page CV is the best approach.

If you want to impress hiring managers and demonstrate your professionalism, you should submit your CV at the appropriate length that is expected within your profession and industry.

The correct CV length will vary depending on your profession and role. A recent graduate or school leaver will require a different CV length to an executive or a director.

In this guide, we will help you identify the perfect CV length for you.



How Many Pages Should a CV Be?

So, exactly how long should a CV be?

One of the first hurdles you’ll face when writing your CV is deciding what length to write your CV. Many prospective employees make the mistakes regarding the length of their CV, some preparing CVs that are too long and some preparing CVs that are too short.

Many recruiters have limits and standards when it comes to CV length. Here at CV Nation, we have known recruiters who don't accept CVs over a certain number of pages.

So how long should your CV be?

In most cases, aim for two pages. If you're at C-level or you're an executive, it's fine to go over this two page limit.

Certain professions also have different standards when it comes to page length.

For example, doctors' CVs and resumes can often be over 8 pages in length. On the other hand, actor's resumes should never be more than one page long, despite their level of experience.

If you're a recent graduate or school leaver, you may be better suited to a one-page CV. You may not have as many experiences to include, so one-page may suffice.


Long CV or Short CV?

Many studies by online recruiters have shown that around 90% prefer CVs that are two-pages long. Don't exceed two-pages unless you are at a more advanced career level or you are in an industry where a long CV is standard.

Exceptions

Acting Resumes - Acting resumes should always be one-page long

Medical CVs - Medical CVs, especially doctor CVs, can be much longer than CVs for other professions. Doctor's CVs can be over eight pages long.

Director and C-Level CVs - If you're at a more senior level, you can expand on your experiences and achievements. Director and C-level CVs are often three or four pages long.


What is the Best CV Font Size?

You could write a perfectly-sized CV over two pages, but what if you did this with an undesirable font? You then change the font and see what happens. Your document will suddenly increase or decrease in size, all down to simple font choice.

So, it’s always a good idea to choose your desired font first before you start writing your CV. You need to make sure that this font is clear and not too tight. Size 12 is always a recommended option to write your general text in.

When you include any headings or subtitles, however, it’s a good idea to increase the font size here to 14-16.  

Whichever font you go with, you obviously need to make sure that it is consistent throughout your whole CV (this applies to the colour scheme, too!). You don’t want your headings looking too different from the text you’re writing.

Additional tip: Always use professional fonts that are easy to read, such as Arial, Times New Roman or Calibri.


How to Reduce Your CV Size:

  • Put Yourself in the Employer’s Shoes

A good way to approach CV writing is to ensure every sentence you write on your CV is telling your prospective employer something they want to hear?

If the sentence isn’t offering this, it’s a good idea to get rid of it.

  • Change Font Size

As previously mentioned, font can have a big impact on how your CV appears on the page. One of the main impacts it has is size. Even if you just decrease the font size by 0.5, this can be a great method of reducing your space and compacting your written text, without it becoming too small to read.

  • The ‘Skim-Read Method’

CVs are often skim-read. This means that prospective employers will gather more data from a CV that has concise information – not one that waffles to fill up a page.

For example, if you included this sentence: ‘Two months ago, I presented in front of a panel of eight colleagues for a chosen project that I put together over a six-month period.’, then you are waffling a little.

Try this alternative sentence, instead: ‘Recently presented my own project in front of a large panel of colleagues.’

This sentence covers your experience effectively, but it halves the word cou


What to Include in a CV?

You may be wondering what to put on a CV. One big myth about CVs is that it's a good idea to include as much information as possible.

Wrong.

If you choose to cram in as much as possible, regardless of which job your targeting, then this could put you at a real disadvantage.

Say you did some good work experience at an outdoor activities centre once upon a time, but you’re applying for a high-level technical position in IT.

Do you need to include this piece of experience? No, because it’s irrelevant for the employer. Utilise this space better by including more relevant information to the role in question.

Most CVs feature the most important information about you and your employability.

  • Contact Information

Your contact email, mobile number and a link to your LinkedIn profile. Also remember to include this information in your cover letter.

  • CV Personal Statement

A CV personal statement is written to around 100 words briefly detailing who you are and why you’d make a great employee.

  • Education

In this section, you would list your education history. Generally, this would go back to your GCSEs but no further. List any educational qualifications you have received, including university degrees, A-Levels, BTECs or GCSEs you may have passed.

Do you have some worse grades that wouldn’t be relevant to the role? Feel free not to include them!

  • Skills/Accreditations

Here, you should list any useful or practical skills you may have learned, any software tools you can have mastered, or any professional qualifications you may have received.

  • Employment History

Suitable to be listed on your second page if you have enough work experience, your employment history will detail every job you’ve had. If you’ve had a long history of employment or multiple jobs, it’s a good idea to list only the roles that would be more relevant to the prospective employer.


For further help with your CV, feel free to get in touch with our professional CV writers.


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