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How long should a CV be?

Updated: Apr 20, 2022

I often get asked "how long should a CV be?" I personally design CVs for my clients with 3 pages in mind but it all depends on the length and breadth of their experience. A very technical CV with an above average list of training certifications and additional sections like publications and memberships often lands on 4 pages. But 4 pages is my absolute limit. Beyond this recruiters and hiring managers tend to switch off and most readers are interested in the last 10 years of your career.

80% of clients sit neatly on 3 pages with page 1 being the most important. I typically use knowledge of the lazy Z or F like motion of the readers eyes to capture attention and make sure relevant information is forefront. It's important to present as much VALUE as possible on page 1. This can be achieved by including 3 career highlights written in a feature followed by benefit style. STAR is a good frame to use: Situation / Task / Actions / Result.

Employers do not typically have strict requirements on a CV's length, but making the length of your CV 3 pages helps the hiring manager digest your experience for the position they're hiring for. If you're a graduate student or someone with limited work experience, you can keep it to 1 page to summarise your qualifications. Make sure you analyse the job description to ensure that you're matching your experience with the company and position requirements.

However, if you're applying for an academic or technical position, your CV will likely be on 3-4 pages to include all of your accomplishments and other important details.

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