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Is it Really Necessary to Restrict a CV to Two Pages?

Most people try to stick to the two page CV writing format but most of them never question or bother to understand the reason.  They never ask themselves ‘why?’.

This assumption that there is some ‘magic’ in two pages gives rise to silly mistakes, one of the most usual being the use of a font which is so small that it makes the CV difficult to read.  Another is to eliminate most of the white space on the page, thus making it appear that the information has been ‘shoe horned’ onto the page.

Yet if we remember that a CV is all about communication, it is immediately  obvious that anything which spoils the presentation or makes it more difficult for the reader is a really big mistake and will give a bad first impression.

In reality the only reason for the two page CV writing format is because that is about the amount of information that a busy employer is likely to be willing to read when they have to consider a number of applications.  They are just too busy to read lengthy CVs.

When a prospective employer is considering your application they will be faced with a ‘call to action’ when they reach the bottom of page 1.  Should they turn the page?  Our job is to make sure that they are sufficiently interested in you to want to know what is on page 2 and by the time they get to the bottom of page 2 they need to have made up their minds about you, one way or the other.

I would advise that in the early stages of your career you should stick to the 2 page CV, it is unlikely that you will have enough information to justify a third page.  However, depending on the level of your career, there is nothing wrong with a 3 page CV but you have to carefully prioritise your information and only use the third page if absolutely necessary.

Generally speaking as your career progresses education and qualifications and become less important than practical experience.  This section can go on page  3 together with any other background information which is not vital to the decision making process.

So just remember make sure that your CV is interesting from the very beginning, don’t waste space on page 1 with information which is not relevant to the decision making process.  Keep the presentation simple and attractive with plenty of white space.  Remember that ‘less is more’ so don’t clutter your CV with unnecessary detail.  But if all else fails, there is nothing wrong with putting some of the information onto a third page.

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