For employers, there is nothing worse than a CV that is pages and pages long. If you can’t manage the task of editing your CV down then you’re not worth employing. Really, a three page CV in a difficult labour market is not acceptable. anything longer than that and you’re going straight into the shredder without a second glance. Not what you intended when you emailed it to them. Here are our five top tips to editing down your CV:
1) Use lists carefully
This can trip people up every time. A long bulletted list of your school qualifications can look terrible on your CV. Instead of listing subjects like this:
You could add a simple list more like this:
GCSEs: Maths C • English C • Science CC • History B • Geography D
Just imagine the space you could save!
Sorry to state the obvious but this is it: there is a skill to editing so show off a little bit. Employers don’t want your life story. They want relevant, targeted information to help them decide if you are ready for interview. Any extra fluff needs to be shaved off.
3) Lose the dead wood
If you have the words Curriculum Vitae at the top of your CV take it off. Recruiters know what a CV is. They know what a CV looks like.
You may also want to take of your Hobbies & Interests section. Seriously, do you think employers care that you like cooking, reading and socialising with your family? Unless your hobbies have a particular relationshipto the job (or the recruiter) then it’s time to lose the dead wood.
4) Don’t waste space
If you do not know what the tab key looks like on your keyboard then it’s time to learn now. Spacing information carefully on your CV achieves two key aims:
- It lays the information out to make it easier for the reader to find what they are looking for
- It creates order to the information on your CV and helps you create order (to avoid using bullets)
Look at this example taken from the free CV templates in our CV Template Zone:
Notice that some important information has been laid out on just one line: Job Title | Employer name | Town | Dates to/from.
If you have a long career history this could save a lot of space.
5) Pay attention to margins
This may be getting technical but remember that word processing software sets margins all around the page. If your CV is dribbling onto the next page and it’s just a line or two this can save your bacon. Read this article about changing margins in Word.
You will be amazed at what you can achieve. Scour your CV carefully and be ruthless about space but here is a health warning: rather have a longer CV than a CV that is cramped onto one page in one long hideous blurb. Use some common sense and show your CV to friends.