Someone told me yesterday, that she immediately discounts any CV that is more than two pages long. To me, this seems backward. In an age where CVs are increasingly viewed electronically, there is less focus attributed to the number of sides of A4, and more focus, justifiably, to the experience on it.
In the contracting market in particular, candidates are more likely to have worked in a wider variety of places over the course of their careers and thus will tend towards longer CVs.
So how do you decide what stays, and what has to go?
The literal translation of Curriculum Vitae means “the course of (one’s) life”, but do not be fooled that this is carte blanche to write about every detail of your life. Although you may think it demonstrates that you are interesting, well rounded and highly competent, you are unfortunately likely to lose your reader’s interest very quickly.
1. Lose the family photos
Do not put a photo on your CV. You also do not need to clarify your gender, race, age or marital status. Besides, why would you want to work for an organisation that gave preferential treatment to any of these factors?
2. Less is more
Consider the length of the description against the length of time you were employed in a particular position. For example, a 1 month temporary position does not need the same detail as the 5 year permanent job. In some cases a description may not be needed at all if the job title gives a clear indication of the role involved, or it dates to your early career.
3. Remember your target audience
The prospective employer will want to know whether you will be a good fit for their particular vacancy, so adapt your CV to each role you apply to and detail the experiences that match the criteria they require. Everything else is superfluous, and can actually detract from highlighting your suitability for the role.
If all else fails, reduce the margins, the paragraph breaks and the font size, and supply a magnifying glass.
Alethea Platt, Venn Group