How many pages should a CV have?
How long should a CV be?
How far back should a CV be?
We could ask you another question: How long is a piece of string?
When it comes to CVs*, there’s no real consensus on how long it should be.
Some say one page is enough. Some say two pages is an okay length. Others say it depends on the amount of experience you have. (meaning that as you gain more experience in your career, you eliminate older stuff and you include your most recent work history)
Generally, 2 pages are the recommended length. But in this article, we’ll discuss how many pages a CV should have.
We’ll also tell you what you need to include on your CV so that it’s an appropriate length, as well as what you don’t need/should cut out completely.
No matter how long it is, Your CV should stand out by highlighting your skills, experience, and what you have to bring to the job you’re applying for.
Enough of the slow intro – let’s jump in!
*CV is another term for resume btw – just so you know!
One Page Long
If you don’t have a lot of experience, you’re just getting started in a new career, or you’re a graduate student, having your CV this long is beneficial.
At this length, you sum up any relevant work experience or qualifications that you’ve already gained.
Some people prefer this length. It gets straight to the point, especially as recruiters don’t have time to go through every single CV and use the Applicant Tracking System (ATS) to scan CVs.
With this format, your CV is short and sweet!
Two Pages Long
Two pages are the ideal length for a CV in most industries. It’s not as short as one page (or one page and a half), but it’s not more than three pages either.
In the words of Goldilocks: It’s just right.
So why is two pages the ideal length?
- Only necessary information is included.
- Recruiters can find relevant information quickly.
- It highlights your key skills and experiences
- All the information is spread out over two pages
There are exceptions, though:
- Academic CVs don’t have a specific limit – if you’re applying for a job in academia, it’s not strange to have multiple pages covering publications, grants, research, etc.
- Medical CVs are also known for being super long – they can be over eight pages long!
- If you’re an actor, your CV should be no more than a page, even if you have loads of experience.
Bottom line: Two pages are the suggested length, but it’s not a rule set in stone.
More Than Two Pages Long
This usually isn’t recommended.
If you’re an experienced professional with credentials to your name, and you want to show off your expertise on your CV, you can go past two pages.
Three pages is a reasonable length for seasoned professionals to showcase their experience, accolades, and accomplishments.
What Does A CV Need To Have?
For your CV to be appealing to recruiters, here’s what you need to include:
- Spoken languages – Studied Spanish in school? Learned a bit of German while traveling abroad? Know some Italian from your summer in Rome? An extra language is a bonus to employers.
- Education – Degrees, training courses, diplomas – your education history is one section of your CV that will give recruiters an idea of your education level and qualifications.
- Certifications/licenses – These will show recruiters that you have strong credentials to bring to the job. It also legitimises your skills.
- Contact information – This includes your phone number, email address, and home address. It sounds obvious, but how are recruiters going to get in touch with you if they don’t have the correct contact details for you?
- Skills/qualifications – This highlights what you’ve learned at other jobs or in college/university/vocational school etc. Your skills and qualifications will also show that you’re capable of doing the job.
What Shouldn’t Be On A CV?
So we’ve talked about what should be on a CV. Let’s talk about what shouldn’t be written on your CV. (if you want to land the job, that is!)
- A whole list of references – Having one or two (or three) references is acceptable. But having more than that is overkill.
- Reasons for leaving past jobs – You can explain it away in the job interview, but it’s not relevant for a CV.
- Headshots – Ok, this one is a little debatable. In some industries, it’s mandatory to put a photo of yourself on a CV. But a photo on your CV is not always necessary.
- Salary details from past jobs – In general, discussing salary in a job interview (whether it’s from a past job or a job you’re applying for) is kind of taboo. But that’s an article for another day.
While there’s no general consensus on how long a CV should be, 2 pages are the ideal length.
A short and concise CV is ideal for recruiters to analyse your CV and how it relates to the job you’re applying for.
One page is ok if you’re just getting started in your career or you haven’t got much experience.
More than two pages are not recommended, but there are exceptions.
If you have an illustrious career filled with accolades and accomplishments, three pages are enough to explain what you can bring to the role.
No matter the length, one thing is clear.
- It’s what’s on your CV that matters – education, skills, experience, contact details, and references.
No matter how long your CV is, it’s what you include on it that will help you get the interview. (and hopefully the job!)