What is the ideal CV length?

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What is the ideal CV length?

true 01 February 2021

Last week we received a 10 page CV from a candidate that applied from one of our adverts online. This sparked a debate as to whether a CV ever needed to be that long?

We decided to run a poll on LinkedIn to gauge opinions from our network which includes hiring managers, agency recruiters, HR and internal recruiters and thousands of engineers and technical individuals in the Defence, Cyber and Technical Consulting marketplace. By far, it was the most popular Poll that we've run recently with over 36,000 hits, 80 comments and 1,540 votes cast.

As a rule, we don't usually create a blog for each poll we share on LinkedIn, however this time we thought we'd share some of the key feedback on the comments.

Here's a view of the final table.

The findings from our LinkedIn Poll

Overall, 90% agreed that 3 pages should be the absolute maximum length for a CV in today's current marketplace. With over 64% believing that the perfect CV should be the golden size of 2 pages.

Here were some of the key takeaways from the comments section:

- Aim for 2 pages. I'm a contractor and my CV is 2 pages. Use words economically and focus on making an impact and drop the waffle

- 2-3 usually but dependent on role/sector/level. First page is key to getting attention but 1 page is too short in my opinion

- I'd say a good concise summary on the first page, then more detailed information demonstrating skill sets etc. On subsequent pages

- Personally, when I interview I would expect 2 pages, it would also depend on the job that you're applying for, if you are looking for someone with certifications and experience in the role 1 page wouldn’t be long enough - 3 pages and more you would get bored.

- I like a one page CV! It forces candidates to be concise and really think about their best qualities to mention.

- I'm a recruiter and I love seeing a one page CV, as do the hiring managers. I guess the more senior / experienced one is, the more challenging it is to get everything on one page of course. But I really think most people should be able to summarise to a maximum of 2 pages. And regardless of the number of pages, a very important element is the very first thing that is presented; a short and informative summary at the top of page one, an elevator pitch if you will

Our top tips for success

We think that a well structured 2 page CV will always be best, and try to follow our key tips for CV success:

  1. Follow a standard format - divide the CV into clear sections

  2. Avoid too much white space

  3. Always include: Personal contact details. A personal statement. Education. Work experience. Skills and achievements. Hobbies and interests.

  4. Use bullet points and avoid wordy blocks of text

  5. Always save the CV as a Word document (recruiters will love you for this)

If you're planning on updating your CV for a new job search, don't forget to send us a copy if you'd like our feedback.

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