The 8 Most Commonly Asked Career Questions

How long should my CV/resume be?



Q1: How long should my CV/resume be?

There are many opinions on CV/resume length and job seekers are bombarded with conflicting information that only serves to highlight that there is no definitive answer.

If you have been asked by a recruiter or company for a CV/resume of a certain length, then it’s best to comply with their wishes, but if you haven’t been given a steer (which you usually won’t have been) then a good yardstick is 2 – 3 pages.

A one size fits all approach doesn’t factor in different levels of seniority, so work on the basis that a more junior person’s CV/resume is likely to be no more than 2 pages and a more senior person would be nearer 3.

There are regional variations too; a UK CV is typically more detailed and longer than a US resume, and in the UK market, Contractors / Interim Managers are forgiven for having a CV up to 4 pages in length. South African CVs are usually very detailed and can sometimes be several pages in length and the Australian market is very much aligned with the UK. Most regions around the world stick to somewhere between 2 and 3 pages, so that’s a good a yardstick.

Obviously, writing War & Peace isn’t going to win over a recruiter or prospective employer, but you need to make sure you have included sufficient information for the reader to make an informed decision on your suitability for the role, and this includes making sure you have sold yourself. If page one of your CV does most of the selling, the length of the CV thereafter becomes less important.

Q2: How do I write a CV/resume if I am changing careers?

In a competitive job market where employers are looking for round pegs for round holes, changing careers can be challenging, but not impossible, as long as you are realistic.

The way to write your CV/resume is to focus on your transferable skills that are relevant to your new career. Carefully studying job descriptions and identifying the 5 most important skills that the organization is looking for is your starting point. Use these skills on your CV/resume as headings on page one and write some evidence underneath each heading that you have that particular skill.

STAR case studies are a great tool here, where you write mini case studies about projects or experiences in the STAR methodology. STAR is a simple acronym for Situation, Task, Actions and Result that provides a structure for writing case studies.

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Source: AICPA

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