Why must a CV be on one page?

When I’m coaching people especially around a career change the subject of the Resume or CV comes up often, and I always ask is your CV on one page?

The response is generally no. Sometimes I see a look that says, do you know who I am and all the things I’ve done? What most people are missing is the point that the CV is not trying to tell a detailed story of your business or vocational career, it is a targeted sales document that will enable you to get to an interview. It doesn’t get you the job itself, for that you need to sell yourself in person.

So why should I have a one page CV.

The CV selection process..

From personal experience the process of reading pages of buzzwords, addresses, hobbies, anagraphic details etc. brings a form of dread over me, especially if the response to a job advert numbers in hundreds. So as a recruiter I’ve made my own forms of defence on getting the correct people in for an interview, while various studies have shown that on average a human resources executive will spend less than 30 secs in the first filtering process for relevant CV’s that get put forward for later processing and potential job interview.

Put another way the number of CV’s retained with two pages drops by 30% and those kept for interview with 3 pages will drop to 50%. Too much detail just stalls the decision process a multi page CV doesn’t show a focus from the sender on providing information in a clear and focused manner.

What are recruiters looking for.

The reason why any recruiter is going to call someone for interview is because they believe that the person if employed is going to provide a value to the company. So you have to provide as succinctly as possible a vision of how you do things rather than what you’ve done, being ruthless in removing superfluous items that don’t concentrate on your core abilities. If you manage to tell enough of a story in your CV that it warrants the employer to call you up to find out more, you’ve been successful in your job as the CV writer.

So in short conclusion the CV has to be…

  • Easy to read (laid out in a pleasing way to the eye)
  • Well structured, using short sentences (use the maxim, less is more)
  • Non repetitive (give one example instead of three)
  • Show your capabilities and accomplishments (use examples if possible)
  • Not including anagraphic data, age, height, sex, driving license, pets, hobbies
  • Laid out in reverse date order from today to the past, with education normally at the bottom or non-existent if the job experience out weighs the value of exams taken at age 16

So this is my treatise on why if you want to get a job interview the CV needs to sell itself to get you into the interview room. If you find you agree with this you should now investigate how to write the perfect CV.


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