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How long should a CV be?

2 minute read

There’s no hard and fast rule as to how long a CV should be, but you need to be mindful of keeping your CV direct and straight to the point. This is especially important when the reality is that most recruiters spend on average 5-7 seconds reviewing a CV.

When Reed.co.uk surveyed recruiters, they found that 91% suggested 2 pages is the perfect length.

Length, of course, will vary with regard to experience. A school leaver versus someone having worked for 30 years will each have an extremely different story to tell, but keeping two pages in mind will help as you plan your CV.

Generally less is more as most roles will involve a recruiter reviewing hundreds of CVs. You want to make sure yours is punchy and grabs attention quickly. So if you can get it shorter, that’s always a good thing!

How long should a CV be: What to include

It can be helpful when thinking about CV length to consider the main information you need to include. We’ve digested this below to act as a checklist.

  • Relevant contact information (full name, email and telephone number are standard, full address is optional but more often that not included)
  • Personal profile or statement (optional but recommended)
  • Professional work experience
  • Educational background
  • Skills and qualifications
  • Additional information such as awards, certifications, languages, etc.
  • Hobbies or interests
  • References (more and more it’s becoming customary to leave references off, but it can be good to acknowledge that references are available upon request)

It can be helpful to consider your CV layout to make sense of all the sections and how to weight them. Head to our blog post ‘CV Layout: Getting started’ for some helpful guidance.

How long should a CV be: What to lose

As you can see there is a lot to include on your CV and as we want to keep things punchy, it’s often helpful to look at your CV and think about areas to trim down.

It can be easy to fall into the trap of throwing everything at your CV to give it your best shot. Luckily there are some helpful articles online which offer guidance on how to look at it objectively including the below.

  • Total Jobs: Offers guidance to help consider what’s actually important, shorten older roles, cut out irrelevant information and write more concisely.
  • The Muse: Offers some hacks to play with design and layout to also help cut the length of your CV such as trimming bullet points and playing with margins.

Having a good template can also help you organise all you want to say in an easy to read format. Have a read of our blog post ‘Basic CV Template: Finding the right one‘ to find some great places to start your search for a CV template. Sometimes it can also help to get someone else to have a look at it and give you some feedback. Maybe try asking a friend of family member, or even a current employer or teacher. In general though remember keep it punchy and keep it lean! Good luck!

Feeling inspired? Check out our blog post ‘How to upgrade your CV to get that job‘ for some more tips to help improve your CV!