FYI: Keep your CV short and sweet

Here is a question that many are willing to ask than answer. “Does the size of a professional CV matter?” The answer is simply a yes.

With the job market so competitive nowadays, the length of your CV can be a key determinant of whether you’ll be considered for the job. Take a scenario where a recruiter has 100+ CVs to scan through in search for the best suit for a given role. Chances are that at some point they’ll lose concentration, and if your CV stands out, you’re better placed to grab their attention. One of the tricks to attracting the attention of recruiters is to keep it short and sweet.

I know it’s quite hard to contain the length of your CV, especially with your vast experience and lengthy education. However, below are some tips for keeping it short and sweet.

1) Is it all relevant?

You don’t need to include your life story. Remember: a CV is all about advertising yourself for the job using the relevant information.

Take your employment history: while an office assistant role you did 10 years ago gave you a kick start into your career, it’s not relevant if you’re contesting for a senior accountant role – chuck it off!

The same applies for your interests. The person reading your CV will probably not care whether you may like eating out or long walks along the beach. Most recruiters will be interested in your suitability for the role in question. Keep it pertinent and, above all, relevant.

2) Are you just repetitive for no reason?

In many occasions, you’ll find yourself trying to make the same points. For instance, you might have listed versatility as one of your key attributes, but also find yourself mentioning about your flexibility and adaptability to changes.

Note: make your point clear enough, and don’t sneak it back again.

3) Afraid of the white space?

Did you know that nearly all recruiters skim read CVs? So, enough spacing does them more good than you could imagine. Trying to cram in as much information as possible is doing your CV injustice. You better know how to grab the recruiters’ attention and keep them reading.

Don’t fear the gaps. It’s recommended you use bullet points to highlight and draw attention to any key facts or relevant bits of information.

Trying to play around with margins and typeface will do you more harm than good. It’s not clever at all. Use professional standards as you write your CV.

4) Are you using your cover letter?

A well crafted cover letter is essential for any job you apply for. Your cover letter should be used to expand on your past achievements, and explain why you think you’d be the ideal candidate for the role.

Once again, there’s no point in recycling material. Use this space to clearly outline your objectives, underlining particular projects or interests that you think will make you stand out.

5) Are you getting straight to the point?

As well as relevant content, there are certain words and phrases that you can do without. Write in the first person, but remove ‘I’ when listing points. The same goes for articles such as ‘a’, ‘an’, ‘the’ etc.

For example, the sentence: ‘I was recently selected to manage a team of five co-workers. I supervised them for a specific project based task which lasted for three months’, can be shortened to ‘Managed a team of five, for a specialist project lasting three months’.

This not only reduces length, it also makes sentences more active, giving your accomplishments greater authority. Play to your strengths, but get straight to the point.

So, how long should it be?

Of course, there isn’t really a set answer. If you’re just graduating, chances are you won’t have as much to say as someone who’s been working in an industry for 30 years.

Even so, you should always try stripping back to include only the main facts. If you can fit it on one page, then do it. If you can’t, two should generally be the maximum.

If you’re confident in your abilities, there’s no need for embellishment, and that confidence will come across. A recruiter doesn’t have time to go through pages and pages of information, hundreds of times over. Save them some time, and get straight to the point. Sometimes, less is more.

And remember: anyone who says ‘Size doesn’t matter. It’s what you do with it that counts’ is, almost always, lying.

Taken from reed.co.uk

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