always start with your most current job first, and try not to make it to long, I look at lots of CV's as part of my job and if it is to long or not clear and concise I lose interest and tend to discard it.
Ho Orinoco,I used to be a recruitment consultant and helped rewrite loads of CVs, so I hope this helps:
The basic format we advised was - 1)personal details, 2)employment, 3)education, 4)interests. Last/latest job top of the employment section, and list main responsibilities in a bullet point format. The further back you go the less detail you need to include for each job (I'm assuming as it's 4 pages you've done more than 2 jobs!) and anything that isn't in your career path, (ie that stint as an underwater basket weaver?!) include, but don't expand on - the fewer gaps in your CV, the better.
Reduce education to minimum, ie don't bother listing all GCSEs (O' levels to "oldies" like me!), just put "x GCSEs (including English & Mathematics)". always include the school/college or wherever it was you got the qualification.
Depending on what sort of job you are looking for you could also have a "Profile" section, between personal details and employment. This is where you can big yourself up. always write it in third person, ie "X is an dedicated brain surgeon with 10 years experience within the rocket science sector. Now looking for a managerial role within Hollywood, where her skills and expertise can be fully utilised". Only write about three or four sentences though.
Don't list loads of interests -just two or three, and NEVER put socialising - everyone does it!!
Also add "References - supplied on request" at the end. They should always notify you anyway if they want to take up references, and it saves having to constantly update that bit.
At the end of the day, depending on the amount of experience and how long you have been working, it's usually better to go slightly over two pages than cut out really important or impressive stuff.
I have a sort of summary bit at the beginning - highlighting what I am looking for and what I am offering (couple of bullets each) then I list the all posts I have held, but I only give details on the ones in the last 10 years, with maybe five or six bullet points down to two or so for the longest ago highlighting achievements relevant to the job I am applying for. Then I do education, again giving more detail in the most important stuff (I also attach a list of my short courses/CPD over the last two years), so that my 'O' levels just get a "x 'O' levels including Maths and English". Then I do everything else (interests references etc). About 2/3rds is on the jobs section.
When your having a go at writing your profile bit at the begonning of your CV, write it in the form of a 30 second commerical about yourself: i.e. What do you do, what are your key skills or strengths, and then what are you looking for. "I am an x... with excellent skills in a, b, c,d and e. (can be a couple of sentences. Looking for a new challenge in the x sector"
Good luck, they are a pain to do, but good idea to update regularly, so you don't have to do big rewrite each time.
I've got a relatively short career so filling two pages isn't a problem. However, I also have a child, giving me a year and a half gap in employment. The last job was just a temp job for 3 months as well. Doesn't look impressive if I do the standard chronological format.
How do others cope with this?
Has anyone read the eve article on what happens when you put a baby on your cv? It's really awful but so true in my case.
I work in HR and spent yesterday afternoon deciding which 20 graduates to interview from 60 CVS (original list was 120 but we threw out all with any spelling mistakes or less than 2.1 degree).
Jodee's advice is exactly right imo. Put down achievements, not job content. The profile is the "elevator pitch" - your chance to grab the interest of the person reading the CV - woblingalong has it right.
Two page length is not critical, especially if you have lots of relevant experience. I covered a gap in my CV by saying that I had role swapped with my wife (i fact I was redundant and could not get a job, but she could and did).
Finally, do not lie. Organisations covered by the Financial Services Authority (for example) will routinely check every detail these days, right back to the grades you got at GCSE (if you put them down).
Orinoco, sorry, only just came back to this thread. If you are applying for a particular role think about what they are looking for and highlight the skills etc that you have that match that. so taking on board what you mentioned, i would start with something like:
"Orinoco has been the Treasurer for the Voluntary Management Committee of XX charity for XX years. during this time she has saved £XX on the charity's spend on x, been involved in an initiative to y, and increased the z by XX. She works part-time as a Mortgage Consultant, and is looking for a part-time position on a management committee which will enable her to develop further her skills and experience in a challenging and interesting environment."
Obviously this is just an idea, but hope it helps!