"What should the length of my CV be?"
That is a question we come across almost daily when speaking with job applicants and candidates.
Our answer would be something along the lines of "however long it takes for you to fit your relevant experience and information, so 2-4 pages should be okay. Just be concise".
We'd then be met with the remark "I thought CV's shouldn't be any longer than 1-2 pages long?".
Our answer would be: "It is okay to have a CV/resume that is more than two pages long. What matters most is that your CV is clear, concise and only contains relevant information. We’d rather read a CV that is 2-4 pages long and packed with relevant and useful information than a 1-2-page CV that is summarised for the sake of a guideline and raises more questions than it answers."
Candidate's response: "I thought that explaining this relevant information is what the interview is for?"
What we say: "Yes, although you still need to show that you have the relevant skills and experience on your CV or as I like to call it 'your billboard' in order to be called in for an interview - which you use as an opportunity to further elaborate. And at the end of the day, if your competitors are doing it, and you're not, you're losing out"
The reality is, especially with tech professionals, limiting a CV to 1-2 pages isn’t the easiest task, unless you are at the early stages of your career.
With more seasoned professionals, your experience includes important information such as:
- The usual suspects (company, title, dates, responsibilities, achievements)
- Tech stack used
- Technical methodologies (e.g. for Data Scientists – what algorithm did you develop or implement?)
- Projects and the outcome of the projects
- Your side projects and/or tech community involvement
- Qualifications (and in the case of PhD/Master’s where a summary of your thesis matters – if relevant to the job).
Employers and recruiters look at this information as part of the screening process, so make sure it is in your CV.
The CV is still a very powerful tool in the screening process. In most cases there is a high volume of candidates applying for any particular role and given pressing deadlines, employers are tight for time, which means they won't be able to conduct interviews with candidates only to find out that they didn't have the relevant experience. As a result, employers rely more and more on the content in the CV to effectively and efficiently screen.
And one more thing, if you have some blank space left at the bottom of the page, feel free to make the most of it.