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CV - ideal length

(14 Posts)
daimbardiva Tue 23-Jul-13 15:19:57

When a job application asks for a CV, what would you say the maximum length of it should be? 3 pages? Longer? Shorter?

Also, what sort of information should you include in the covering letter rather than the CV?

Thank you for your thoughts.

JoinTheDots Tue 23-Jul-13 15:28:13

2 sides of A4. Most important things on the front page - give them enough to make them want to turn over to page 2.

Cover letter content will depend on the style of your CV, but you will want to highlight some of the key skills or experience you have in your CV which makes you perfect for the job as well as showing your motivation for applying and your knowledge of the company you are applying to. You do not want to waste space repeating yourself but the cover letter gives you an opportunity for narrative which is usually missing from a CV.

Hope that helps!

Talkinpeace Tue 23-Jul-13 15:28:45

depends on the job and what stage you are at in your career
CVs should be rejigged for every application

flowery Tue 23-Jul-13 16:03:17

For the vast majority of people two sides should be sufficient, because realistically more than that won't be read, and even reading two pages might be pushing it if it's wordy.

It's not usually relevant, appropriate or interesting to list everything you've ever done. The purpose of a CV is to get you an interview so for most people, the key pieces of information which will do that ought to fit on two pages.

Having said that, academia and medicine would be areas where that wouldn't apply, and you are expected to put more or less everything you've ever done, including publications and what not.

PoppyAmex Tue 23-Jul-13 16:09:01

Talkinpeace is right; it really depends on the industry/sector, the job you're applying and what stage your career is at the moment.

People like to tout the One or Two-Page rule, but there's no such thing in reality.

I've worked in Recruitment and Headhunting for many years and have never dismissed a CV due to excessive length (extreme brevity on the other hand can be detrimental).

ChunkyPickle Tue 23-Jul-13 16:20:51

Depends on where you are, but as a hirer (technical) I overwhelmingly prefer about 2 sides of A4. (1 side if you're right at the beginning of your career).

If you've been working for 40 years, the chances are that what you did when you were 18 can be condensed to a one-liner (if needed at all - I don't bother with my GCSEs/A-levels any more unless they are relevant in some special way).

I agree that you should re-write it for each job though - spinning your more recent job descriptions to emphasise characteristics that'll appeal to the people hiring for the new job.

daimbardiva Tue 23-Jul-13 16:42:03

Thank you, this is all really reasonable - I started my career in academia, so am more used to the exhaustive list style of CV, but have been out of that but in the same job for several years, so am just not sure what the done thing is!

flowery Tue 23-Jul-13 16:44:08

What kind of job is it you're applying for and in what industry/sector?

Talkinpeace Tue 23-Jul-13 16:45:05

aim for two sides, font 11, 2cm margins and see how it goes from there ....
its more important to have the descriptions of what you have achieved good
think like a man : take credit for everything anybody in your team ever did wink

Madlizzy Tue 23-Jul-13 16:46:34

I now only put my last 10 years of previous employers, stating more available info upon request. I keep my CV at two pages.

PoppyAmex Tue 23-Jul-13 16:46:59

Yep, good advice there.

List all achievements, positive outcomes and quantify and qualify when/where appropriate.

daimbardiva Tue 23-Jul-13 21:43:11

I don't want to out myself, but the job is third sector

Talkinpeace Tue 23-Jul-13 21:51:36

so you need to list who you have worked with in jobs that link to the sector you are applying to, the closer the links and tighter fit the existing successes the better

SunshineBossaNova Tue 23-Jul-13 22:44:45

I've recruited in the 3rd sector. My heart sank when I saw 5 pages of stuff... 2 pages with a cover letter is just right.

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