One Page or Many?

One of the most basic debates that people have on CVs is whether it should be a one page summary – which has the advantage of brevity and so increasing the chance that it will be read but forces the omission of any interesting details; or a multi-page tome – which has the advantage of allowing you to set out all your achievements and manifold skills but risks sending the reader to sleep as they trawl through the detail for the key points.

There’s an easy way to slice through this particular gordian knot: just have both.  That’s what most headhunters do.

How so?  I have uploaded a sample .pdf  here which explains, but the basic idea is to have the first page serve as a stand-alone document by including the following subject Headings:

  • Your Name & Contact Details
  • Education
  • Professional Qualifications (if any)
  • Employment History (Summary)  NB:  just include the key Dates, Company Name and Job Titles
  • Other Qualifications/Skills

Then the 2nd, 3rd and 4th pages should include:

  • Your Name & Contact Details
  • Employment History (Detail):   Now you can list as much detail as you want, repeating the same Dates, Companies and Job Titles in the same order, but inserting all the detail you left out in the Summary section.

Even so, other than your mum, there’s a limit to people’s interest in reading about your glorious career so I would recommend trying to keep the whole thing to three pages or less.  If you follow the recommendations I make in the Keep it Relevant page, you shouldn’t need to make it longer.

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