CV Length Guide: How Long Should Your Curriculum Vitae Be
Job seekers often wonder how long their CVs should be to catch the attention of potential employers. Some may be tempted to include every detail of their work history, while others aim to keep it short and sweet.
In this article, we’ll explore how long a CV should be and provide guidance on crafting the perfect CV for business support positions. We’ll cover what you should include in your CV and provide tips on how to shorten your CV without losing important information. We’ll also share an example of a well-crafted CV that can serve as a guide for job seekers in the business support industry.
Whether you’re a seasoned professional or just starting in your career, this article aims to help you create a strong CV that will impress potential employers.
What is a CV?
A CV, short for Curriculum Vitae, is a document commonly used by job seekers to present their skills and qualifications to prospective employers.
Essentially, a CV provides a summary of a person’s educational background, work experience and professional accomplishments to highlight a person’s skills, abilities and achievements.
As experts in business support recruitment, we recommend updating your CV regularly to align your qualifications with the company and job specifications you’re applying for.
The format and length of a CV may vary based on where you are located and the specifications of the job. For example, someone who is applying for an Executive Assistant job will have a very different CV from someone who is applying for a job as an Illustrator.
If you’re applying for jobs in the United States, your CV should provide a comprehensive summary of your academic and professional accomplishments. Typically, it should be two pages in length, or up to three pages if you’re a senior-level candidate.
Your CV should be updated regularly as you complete new courses or achievements. It can include a range of information, such as awards, certifications, projects, publications, presentations and references.
If you’re applying for jobs in the UK or Europe, you should limit your CV to one or two pages. It should include only the most relevant information for the job being applied for and be tailored according to the skills required for the specific job.
It does not list every award, certification or project you have engaged in, only the most important aspects of your career and achievements. The experiences, education, awards and all other achievements are listed chronologically, starting with the most recent experience and ending with the oldest.
How long should a CV be?
The goal is to comprehensively showcase your achievements, professional experience, publications and other relevant information.
Your CV should highlight only the most relevant information for the job you are applying for. Unless you are a senior professional with extensive experience, aim to keep your CV to one or two pages.
If you have a long and impressive career that cannot be shortened, a two-page CV is acceptable. It’s important to keep in mind that recruiters may have a high volume of CVs to review, therefore a more concise and targeted CV can help ensure that your key qualifications and achievements are easily visible to recruiters.
How many pages should a CV have?
The ideal length of a CV is around one to three pages, allowing the hiring manager to easily understand your qualifications and experience.
Here are some key points to consider when determining how many pages your CV should be:
The length of a CV may vary based on the industry you’re applying to. For example, a creative position, like Graphic Designer, may require a longer CV to showcase your portfolio, while an Office Manager job may prefer a more concise and straightforward CV.
Experience and achievements
If you are a new graduate or someone in the early stages of your career, your CV might be one or two pages long, whereas a more experienced professional could have a longer CV.
Your CV should be as long as necessary to include all your accomplishments and important details.
Remember, the key is to keep your CV concise and relevant to the job you are applying for. The goal is to showcase your qualifications and experience effectively.
Details of the perfect CV
It is essential to include the right information in your CV to make a strong impression on recruiters.
In this section, we’ll explore the different aspects that should be included in a CV.
Personal details and contact information
Your CV should include your name, phone number and email address. Optionally, you can add your professional title and LinkedIn URL.
This is a critical section that should highlight your relevant work experience, including job titles, responsibilities, achievements and dates of employment. Focus on relevant work experience (specific to the job you are applying for) and avoid including unrelated jobs.
Educational background refers to the degrees, certifications and diplomas you have earned throughout your academic career.
This section typically includes the name of the institution, qualification obtained, major or area of study and the date of graduation or expected graduation. It may also include details such as academic awards, thesis titles and other notable achievements.
Skills and qualifications
Skills and qualifications refer to the specific abilities, knowledge and expertise you possess that are relevant to the job you are applying for. These can be both hard or soft skills, such as proficiency in specific software or strong communication skills.
In this section, you can also list any awards or honours you’ve received that may be relevant to the job you’re applying for.
Licenses and certifications
Include any relevant licenses and certifications you’ve earned in your field as well as any short courses that you have completed. This shows that you’re serious about your profession and committed to continuous learning and upskilling.
While it’s important to include relevant information in your CV, some elements should be excluded. These include reasons why you left previous positions or salary information.
By focusing on the right details, you can create a professional CV that highlights your strengths and makes a strong impression on potential employers.
How to shorten a CV
As the job market becomes increasingly competitive, job seekers are looking for ways to make their applications stand out from the rest. One way to achieve this is by creating a concise, well-organised and to-the-point CV that showcases your skills and accomplishments in the best possible way.
Here are five tips to help you make your CV shorter:
1. List only relevant information for the job
To shorten your CV, make sure that all experiences listed are relevant to the position you’re applying for. Leave out jobs you worked way back and skip irrelevant courses or qualifications. For example, if you are applying for an HR Assistant job, then you do not need to include that you completed an online course in macrame.
2. Format smarter
Smart formatting can help keep your CV length in check. Use bullet points to list information, especially the bulkier sections. Use single-line spacing and smaller section headings, such as H2 or H3. Use a 10 or 12-pt font size, depending on how much space you need.
3. Use data and numbers
Listing your responsibilities can clog up your work experience space. Use Laszlo Bock’s formula to write achievements that start with an active verb, numerically measure what you accomplished, provide a baseline for comparison and detail what you did to achieve your goal.
Here is an example of how to apply Laszlo Bock’s resume formula:
“Accomplished efficient office management as measured by a 20% increase in productivity and a 15% reduction in operational costs by doing the following:
- Implemented new project management tools that streamlined communication and increased collaboration between team members
- Developed and executed training programs for new employees, resulting in a reduction in onboarding time by 30%
- Managed vendor relationships and negotiated contracts, resulting in a reduction in expenses by 15%
- Improved overall office efficiency by implementing new filing systems and automating manual processes, resulting in a 20% increase in productivity.”
4. Use a resume builder
Example of the perfect CV for a business-support position
Here is an example of a detailed CV tailored towards a business-support-related job.
- Name: Jane Doe
- Address: 123 Main Street, Anytown UK
- Contact Information: 555-555-1234 | firstname.lastname@example.org
As a highly organised and detail-oriented administrative professional, I bring a strong work ethic, a proactive approach and a commitment to excellence in every task I undertake.
With more than 5 years of experience supporting executive-level staff, I thrive in fast-paced environments and excel at managing complex projects. I am now seeking a support position where I can leverage my skills in office management, project coordination and communication to contribute to the success of the organisation.
- Bachelor of Science in Business Administration | 3.8 GPA | 2015 | University of XYZ
- Thesis: “Effective Communication in Business”
Executive Assistant | 2018 – Present | ABC Company | Anytown, UK
Deliver exceptional support and organisation to executives, resulting in optimised efficiency and streamlined operations as evidenced by the following achievements
- Implemented an innovative calendar management system, reducing scheduling conflicts by 40% and enhancing time management for busy executives.
- Spearheaded the creation and implementation of a comprehensive travel management system, resulting in a 25% reduction in travel expenses while ensuring seamless travel arrangements for executives.
- Developed and maintained effective documentation and record-keeping processes, resulting in improved access to critical information and reduced search time by 30%.
- Proactively managed confidential correspondence and prioritised tasks, enabling executives to focus on strategic initiatives and increasing their productivity by 15%.
By leveraging these accomplishments, I have consistently provided indispensable assistance to executives, fostering their success in a fast-paced and dynamic environment.
Administrative Assistant | 2016 – 2018 | XYZ Corporation | Anytown, UK
Demonstrated instrumental support in enhancing the productivity and effectiveness of the Vice President of Sales and Marketing by fulfilling the following responsibilities:
- Efficiently managed daily operations, overseeing scheduling, prioritising tasks and organising workflow to ensure seamless execution of responsibilities.
- Skillfully coordinated a wide range of events and meetings for the sales and marketing team, adeptly handling logistics, coordinating resources and fostering a positive and engaging environment.
- Successfully nurtured and managed vendor relationships, resulting in improved cost-efficiency, timely delivery of supplies and streamlined office operations.
- Demonstrated adaptability and strong problem-solving abilities by providing comprehensive administrative support to the team, swiftly resolving challenges, and ensuring the smooth functioning of day-to-day activities.
Through these endeavours, I actively contributed to the success of the sales and marketing team, facilitating their strategic objectives and driving organisational growth.
- Proficient in Microsoft Office Suite (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook), utilising advanced features to enhance productivity and efficiency.
- Strong communication skills (written and verbal), effectively conveying information and building relationships with stakeholders.
- Experience with project coordination and management, successfully leading and executing multiple projects concurrently.
- Excellent organisational and time management skills, prioritising tasks and meeting deadlines consistently.
- Certified Administrative Professional (CAP), demonstrating expertise and commitment to the administrative profession.
Awards and Honors
- Employee of the Month, ABC Company (2019), recognising exceptional performance and dedication.
In my spare time, I enjoy volunteering at the local food bank, where I have gained valuable experience coordinating volunteers and managing resources efficiently. This opportunity has strengthened my ability to organise and lead teams effectively. Additionally, I find practicing yoga beneficial, as it cultivates a strong sense of focus and balance, which are essential skills in any administrative role.
A well-written CV can increase your chances of getting an interview and landing the job. The length of your CV depends on your location, the industry you are applying for and your achievements. The key is to keep your CV concise and relevant to the job you are applying for. At Joss Search, we understand the importance of a well-written CV and can help you tailor it to your dream role. Contact us today to find out more!
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