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How long should a CV be? 

Are you looking to craft the perfect CV? Understand the factors that influence CV length with our in-depth article.

job interview

In today’s competitive job market, crafting a standout CV is essential for securing employment opportunities. One common dilemma job seekers face is determining the optimal length for their CV. While there is no one-size-fits-all answer, understanding the factors influencing CV length can help you create a document that effectively showcases your qualifications and experiences.

Take a look at our free CV templates for more inspiration and guidance.

Why does the length of my CV matter? 

The length of your CV directly influences its effectiveness in securing a job opportunity. Here’s why:

  • First Impressions: Recruiters and hiring managers review numerous CVs for a single position. A well-structured CV is more likely to capture their attention and make a positive first impression. 
  • Readability: A CV that’s too long can overwhelm the reader, leading to key information being overlooked. Similarly, a CV that is too short may lack sufficient detail to showcase your qualifications. 
  • Relevance: Your CV should be tailored to the specific job and industry you’re applying for. Including only relevant information ensures the reviewer can quickly identify your suitability for the position. 
  • Online Applications: Many companies use Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) to screen CVs for keywords and qualifications. A shorter CV is more likely to be analysed correctly by these systems, increasing your chances of making it through the initial screening process.
  • Professionalism: A well-written CV reflects your professionalism and attention to detail. It demonstrates that you can communicate your qualifications and experiences clearly and succinctly.

How many pages should a CV be? 

In general, entry-level candidates or recent graduates are expected to have a one-page-long CV. But for more experienced professionals, two-page-long CVs are standard. But for any CV, the golden rule should always be quality over quantity. 

Rather than focusing on length, try to prioritise the outline and structure of your CV based on your experience and overall relevance to the job you are applying for. Ask yourself, what will make the biggest impact on the hiring manager? What experiences, skills, and achievements are most relevant to the position and how can those be highlighted? 

Tailoring your CV to highlight these aspects will not only make it more effective but also ensure that you make the most of the limited space available. Remember, a concise and targeted CV that effectively showcases your qualifications and accomplishments is far more compelling than a lengthy one filled with irrelevant details.

Specific industries or roles may also have different expectations regarding CV length. For example, academic CVs within research or academia are often multiple pages, as many applicants need to include publications, presentations and grants. On the other hand, creative fields like design or marketing may incorporate visual elements, potentially impacting the overall length of the CV.

How many words should a CV be? 

There is no strict word count requirement to follow when writing your CV. Rather, prioritise clear and concise word choice, along with relevant examples to ensure your qualifications, skills, and experiences stand out.

Here are a few quick formatting tips to shorten your CV:

  • Reduce the font size of your document, but ensure it remains readable (11 or 12 font size is typically best for CVs)
  • Adjust the margins to 0.5, 0.75 or 1 inch to provide more space to expand on your accomplishments
  • Decrease spacing between headings to help limit page length

For more helpful information, check out our blog, ‘How to write a great CV.’

Final thoughts 

The question of how long a CV should be is subjective and depends on your experience, industry norms, and the job you’re applying for.

Remember that recruiters and hiring managers often have limited time to review each application, so it’s crucial to make every word count. Prioritise relevant information, use concise language and ensure that your CV is well-organised and easy to read. 

Ultimately, the goal of your CV is to capture the attention of potential employers and highlight your suitability for the role. What matters most is that it effectively communicates your skills, experiences and achievements in a compelling and professional manner.

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