This is a question I am often asked, and I am always happy to share my view. However out of the hundreds of CVs we receive at Find, disappointingly only a handful are good quality documents of a suitable length.
To answer the question “How long should your CV really be?”, we should think about the purpose of your CV. Is it to spell out every task, achievement, training course and responsibility that you have had in your entire career?
Or is it to grab the attention of a hiring manager with an aesthetically pleasing succinct document that not only tells them what experience and qualifications you possess but also that you can condense information into a simple to read, informative style?
If you picked the latter, congratulations! Correct answer! Let’s look at your options from here!
The PERFECT CV is two pages. In two pages you can provide an incredible amount of information about where you have worked, when, and what you did for those employers (perhaps going back either 4 employers or 10 – 12 years whichever is the greater).
On a two pager you can also highlight your tertiary qualifications, and probably sneak in a couple of interest/hobbies to demonstrate how well rounded you are.
If you do not want to use two pages, there is another option!…..one page! This could be suitable if you are a recent graduate, or maybe you have only had one employer so far in your career.
If you ask, “Please could I have at least three pages!” – The answer is please don’t, unless you are going for a senior executive role, a highly technical role, or where a hiring company or recruiter has specifically stated to do so.
Anything over three pages is entering dangerous waters, too much information can be a bad thing, and it is difficult for employers to read long documents, never mind print them and analyse them.
Remembers always, your beautiful two pager is only beautiful if the fonts are contemporary and the lay out is logical and well organised. Limit colours, graphics and do not include photos of yourself, this invites bias. Another idea is to put a hyperlink to your LinkedIn profile to connect this to your CV.
Let’s all join together and make the world of CVs a much better, more professional world!