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CV need a spring clean:  What’s the ideal length?

Create a CV that gets results

Is there an ideal CV length? And can they run across two pages? The longer your career experience, the more these questions start to burn in the minds of job seekers.

When you speak to experienced recruiters they should be offering you sound advice around the development of your CV, that being the length  should be determined by your level of seniority and experience.

You still need to be succinct though, so forget the 12 page essay and let’s look to really driving home your key achievements and successes. My recommendation would be not to exceed four or five pages at the very most, and that’s only for the most senior CVs.

Relevance rules

Your guiding principle when preparing a CV  should be relevance. If it’s relevant, include it, but if not – leave it out.

The stint you did at the service station back in 1989 was indeed , confidence building, but your CV needs to be tailored  to the job you’re applying for right here, right now.

The most relevant information to include – and the one employers will be most interested in – are your achievements in previous roles. The more senior you are, the more achievements you should have under your belt and the longer your resume can justifiably be. Don’t, however, bother listing your experiences and achievements if they’re ancient history as it’s really only the last ten or so years that employers will be interested in.

Provide a snapshot

Your resume should provide a snapshot of your experience, skills and what you have to offer. Be succinct – that in itself demonstrates your ability to communicate effectively and efficiently. Even your Executive Summary should only be a few lines.

Dates of employment with previous jobs, location of these jobs and whether they were permanent or contract positions are vitally important. . Make sure your dates line up and explain any gaps that may raise questions – for example, if you took time off to go travelling, say so.

Facts, facts facts

No hiring manager wants to read vague, grandiose statements that aren’t backed up by facts. Everyone says they have great communication skills and are a team player, but that doesn’t mean anything without supporting evidence.

If you claim to be strategic, prove it by citing an example of when you developed and implemented an innovative strategy in your past work and projects. This will ensure your CV stands out from the crowd.

More top tips on crafting the perfect CV

•    Don’t repeat yourself.
Are your previous jobs saying unique and different things about you and adding different facets to your career, or simply emphasising the same points? Say it well, and say it once.
•    Use active language,
Avoid clichés, jargon and florid sentences, and keep paragraphs and sections short. Get to the point and don’t be afraid of the delete button.
•    Don’t go into excessive detail
Only use detail that’s core to the job and that backs up your case.

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