How many pages should a CV be?
I felt compelled to put pen to paper, or fingers to keypad after speaking to a huge amount of candidates over the last few weeks at varying levels. The advice I give to my candidates about CV’s is simple….this is your one chance to sell yourself so go for it. But there are people out there telling candidates who earn a good salary to keep CV’s to 2 pages. Really? Is this good advice? I categorically would recommend that your CV should only be 2 pages long if you only have 2 pages of experience to talk about. And here are my reasons why.
1. I graduated in 1997. That’s nearly 20 years of experience. So if my CV had to be 2 pages, what would I cut out? The 10 years’ experience of working in the food industry? The 8 years in recruitment? Would people then see me as the experienced recruiter that I am? No, they’d only see one half of me.
2. My CV was 2 pages when I graduated because in 1997 CV’s were printed off and posted to HR or to the hiring manager when applying for a role.
Times have now changed. I cannot understand why people would recommend this, in this digital age when reviewing a CV is now a click to open and then just a matter of scrolling down. Does the 2 page rule come from lazy recruiters? Or from people not wanting to understand the candidates’ experience also known as the spray & pray approach with CV’s? Or for recruiters who don’t understand and don’t have the courage to ask the in-depth questions in case they lose credibility?
I pride myself on getting to know my candidates. For my candidates I go through CV’s in great detail to understand what jobs YOU’VE done, what motivated YOU, what YOU want to do and really getting to know YOU. Along with the many pages of YOUR CV, are many pages of notes that I make about YOU! Because it is YOUR CV and YOUR career. It is you who has to go into an interview, I am merely the person who opens doors in your career.
So if you are recommending the 2 page rule for a CV, think about this. How can you put a candidate forward for a role without knowing them fully? My clients want to know that when I put a candidate forward for a role they are absolutely right for it. My CV to interview rate is excellent. Sometimes it’s just 1 CV for 1 job, resulting in 1 offer. And that is why my business is growing through recommendation and I am hugely proud of it.
So when someone asks you to take a part of your career or some major achievements out of your CV, I’d ask them why. What don’t they want to know about you? What don’t they care about? And what should you compromise? At the end of the day it is your journey, your CV and your career. Be proud of everything you have achieved as I believe there’s no tougher industry than working in food & drink manufacturing. I’ve been there, as my 4 page CV states.