We know that writing a CV can be tough: between finding the right words to best convey your career experience and figuring out how long your CV should be, formatting your CV can be frustrating!
Fortunately, we’re here to help you create a CV that leaves the best possible impression.
A great CV covers necessary employment info without overwhelming employers. Ready to get started?
The common wisdom on CV length
Let’s begin with some conventional advice that has remained true over the last few decades.
First is the one-page rule - a good early-mid career CV should never exceed one page. It encourages you to only include what you think is essential. If you’ve been in your job for some time, or have had significant experience in your industry, you may want to expand your CV to two pages.
The "six-second rule" is that recruiters spend around six seconds scanning your CV: so you need to communicate quickly. While this isn’t a hard and fast rule, it’s common knowledge that busy employers don’t have all day, so you’ll need to communicate your professional potential efficiently.
Here are some other important points to consider:
- Most companies use Applicant Tracking Systems scanning for keywords. Be sure to read the job description over a few times and incorporate any keywords into your CV where relevant!
- Your career experience is typically the most important element of your CV – be sure to take your time in this section
- If your CV is two pages, be sure to download these together rather than attach each page separately: this will ensure your CV stays intact and doesn’t get lost.
- Be concise with bullet points that highlight work and skills. You don’t need to throw the whole kitchen sink at your CV, just focus on the most important and relevant professional details
Consider your industry
One of the most important things you can do is consider the industry of the job you’re applying for. For example, careers in academia often require extensive details, including job experience, formal qualifications, publications or other relevant work. Condensing an academic CV to one page could potentially harm your chances of being taken seriously by employers!
That's why it's always a good idea to research the appropriate length of a CV for your industry and, if possible, consider the job level as well. Entry level roles typically only require a one-page CV, however, if you’ve worked in an industry for a long time, have specialised experience or have a C-suite position, you’ll probably need a longer CV.
Enhanced CVs vs fluffy CVs
An enhanced CV uses the power of information and experience to best convey your professional image to employers. A fluffy CV uses waffly language and unnecessary details in an attempt to make a positive impression on employers. Unfortunately, it typically has the opposite effect!
Fluffy CVs can put your chances of securing your dream job role at risk. Be vigilant with the information you choose to include – avoid listing memberships and hobbies that aren’t relevant to the job role or industry. It’s also important that you only include relevant skills: it’s great if you’re a king in the kitchen or a crocheting queen, but unless you’re applying for a role as a chef or in arts or crafts, leave these skills off your CV!
Should a CV be one page?
Hmmm, one page, or two? Or three? Figuring out how many pages your CV should be isn’t nearly as important as ensuring your CV best conveys your professional potential. Blindly following the one-page rule hurts you if you have sufficient relevant experience for two: but every sentence must show why you’re the best candidate for the role you’re applying for.
Things to avoid with a short CV
When aiming for a concise CV, avoid:
- Making your CV difficult to read by shrinking text to fit more text in: nobody wants to try and decipher squished text!
- An unbalanced CV with large blocks of text and minimal white space
- Using narrow margins
- Repeating skills used in previous roles. Be sure to read your CV over to ensure you haven’t repeated yourself or included unnecessary details!
Ultimately, the ideal answer to “how long should my CV be?” is long enough. No single perfect length exists! If you’ve done your research, don’t sweat the small stuff. To help you out as you add the finishing touches to your CV, here are our final top tips:
- Ensure your CV convinces recruiters of your abilities without drowning important information. Sticking to one page is often a good way to ensure you’re only including the most essential details
- Include enough keywords, but not so many that your CV sounds silly or inauthentic
- Think about industry CV length standards - don't differ wildly from the norm!
- Use the cvapp.nz CV builder to find customisable templates for every industry. We make frustrating formatting and inadequate CVs a thing of the past!
With some editing, we'll help you create a CV you can be confident in. What are ya waiting for?