How to keep your CV to two pages
It's more important than ever to keep your CV down to two pages.
Why is it important to have a concise CV?
Look at it from a recruitment manager’s point of view: It’s likely they’ll have hundreds of CVs to process every day, so may simply skip over anything too long due to lack of time. It is essential to keep your resume short and snappy, showing clearly why you are the right person for the job as quickly as possible. This is your opportunity to market your qualifications, skills and experience in the most effective way, which is easy to achieve when your CV of formatted correctly.
Essential information to include
Keep personal details to a minimum - just your name, your approximate geographical location, phone number and email; this can all be presented in a single line at the top of the page. The interviewer just needs to have your contact details and to know that you live within a commutable distance, so there is no need to give your full postal address or date of birth at this stage.
In your CV, you are advertising the skills that make you suitable for a particular role. Examine the job description carefully and pick out what skills are most required. You may believe that detailing all your accomplishments will make the best impression, but this is not true. Many jobs require a very specific skill set, so tailor your resume to the job for which you are applying and cut out anything which is not relevant. If you are applying for a range of different roles within a particular industry, you can prepare several different CVs, each one tailored towards a particular niche.
Experience and employment history
Only include relevant and up to date information. That Saturday job in the local cafe that you had when you were 15 may have given you excellent life skills, but your new employer is probably not going to be interested. If you have been employed for several years, begin by listing your most recent employment and outline the responsibilities and duties that are most relevant to the new job. Go into the most detail about your latest jobs; just a brief outline will do for older roles. If you are a recent graduate, give details of any work experience or voluntary roles that might assist interviewers in assessing your suitability for the role.
To save space, just give details of your degree/s and professional qualifications; you can add more detail about earlier education if the question arises during an interview.
A single line stating that references are available on request will suffice.
Information that can be left out
Overused phrases such as “An excellent team player” and “A dynamic, entrepreneurial personality” are fairly meaningless and will irritate many recruitment managers. It is far better to show rather than tell - give examples of teams you have led or where you have exceeded targets.
Hobbies and Interests
Nearly all of us enjoy the cinema, eating out and socialising with friends. Unless it is relevant to the position for which you are applying or is a major achievement that will catch the eye of your interviewer, you can save space by leaving out this category of personal information.
Your resume may well be read on a screen, so use a very legible font such as Arial. Keep it plain and avoid wild colours and background designs. Do not be afraid of white space; use bullet points to make your CV as legible as possible. Write in the first person; you can save even more space by leaving out “I” where possible.
Stripping your CV back to the main facts may seem counter-intuitive, but if you are confident about your ability to do the job, this will shine through. Less is definitely more in this case.