How long should a CV be? Is a two page CV OK to use? Similar questions to these two are often asked by jobseekers, a fact that makes it even more confusing to decide what the best CV format is. While it used to be commonly believed that the ideal CV is a one-page document, it seems that nowadays two-page CVs are becoming more and more popular.
This great dispute over CV length has existed for a while now as there are no absolute rules that restrict you from creating a multi-paged CV instead of a one. A survey in the US showed that 35% of American employers prefer the one-page CV, whereas 19% prefer the two-page CV and other 46% said it depends upon the position.
The reason behind the confusion over the CV length may have diverted from the fact that US and UK employers are looking for different things in terms of CV writing. CVs in the US – otherwise referred to as résumés – tend to be shorter than in the UK where the CV is predominately two-paged. Although the two-page CV has become popular, most employers may still prefer the one-page CV due to the increased number of applications they receive for each position.
So, whether your CV should be written in one-page or a two-page format will depend on:
- Your current situation – are you a school leaver or a Graduate? Most employers ask for graduate CVs that are no more than two A4 pages.
- How long your career history is – looking at years of experience.
- The position you are applying for – is it an internship or a managerial position?
- The type of the CV – academic and technical CVs tend to be even longer than 2 pages.
A one-page CV is often:
- Highly focused.
- Highly objective.
- Consist of several bullet points.
- Often lacks a personal statement.
- Expected for networking and career fairs.
The best use of a one-page CV is when you are applying for a position in investment banking, management consultancy or law firms, which are considered as highly competitive sectors and require that you present yourself effectively in a simple and concise manner.
If you are writing a one-page CV make sure that you make use of the space as wisely as possible including information that’s directly relevant to the job without omitting important details.
- More detailed and specific.
- Includes a personal statement.
- May combine bullet points and short paragraphs.
- Expands on extracurricular activities, special skills and interests.
The two-page CV seems to be the most common CV format jobseekers are using and the ideal choice for the majority of jobs! Whether you are a graduate and want to demonstrate your experience in more detail or you are applying for an executive position you can use that second page to highlight your accomplishments and leadership skills.
When considering CV length you have to be looking at CV readiness and quality of content. If you can fit your career history on a single side then that’s excellent as long as it’s not packed with information which could make it difficult to read. If you are choosing a two-page CV that’s fine as well; you just have to make sure that all the important information goes on your first page so that it catches the attention of the employer effectively!
Overall, the two-page CV comes out as the winner as it consists of the perfect mix of elements every powerful CV should have!
Which one do you think of as the winner? The one or two-page CV? Let us know what you think in the comment section below and get involved in the conversation on Twitter using #TheCVDebate.