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The Death of the Two-Page CV

April 6, 2018

Recruitment in the years prior to the millennium.... Let’s remind ourselves of how it was:


Once the recruiter had decided that someone was right to be put forward for a role, they printed out the CV and then posted or faxed (I hate fax machines) the CV to the client.


As the client was having to deal with loads of actual paper, there was a desire to limit what they had to go through, so CVs were requested to be limited to a couple of pages at most. No one wanted ten 6 page CVs being faxed over, the noise of that blipping and bleeping would send the recipients potty.




But we are not in those times any more. CVs are rarely (don’t claim to be surprised) read in full. They are merely tools to work out whether someone should be spoken to in more detail about a role.


Consider the journey of a CV in 2018.

  1. It’s written on a computer.

  2. It’s emailed to the agency

  3. The agency views it online and uploads it into their database

  4. The database highlights terms which could be relevant for a role

  5. The agency (likely) reformats the CV and emails it to the client

  6. The client views it online and makes a decision as to whether to interview.

So – the CV is only likely printed out, for the first time, when an interview has been arranged and it’s to be sat in front of the interviewer for the purpose of the interview.


So why should it matter how long it is?


If I’m sent a CV and want to check if someone is relevant for anything, I’ll either use ‘ctrlF4’ (I’m not sure what the Mac version of that is) and search for terms on the CV, and read just that sentence. Our recruitment systems do things very similarly, but with pretty highlighting to make it easy to read. I never look to see how long a CV is.


The purpose of a CV used to be to tell the story of your career. It’s not that it isn’t the case today that you should do that, but more so it’s an opportunity to be pulled up for certain words and terms to pull you into processes for roles.


You might find that you apply for a role with an agency you don’t know and your CV is one of 500….the words in your CV will help you pass the first stage of the assessment, not the length of it.


My tips for a CV in 2018 (I could go on all day and will be running a longer seminar in late April if you want to know more):


  • Make sure you think about the words you want to be found for, if someone is searching your CV. So if you want to be getting a ‘strategic leadership role” you need to be mentioning ‘strategy’ and ‘lead’ about 5 times in your CV.


  • Lay it out well. Make it easy for someone who has to review 500 CVs a day to pick out     

    • Where you have worked

    • At what level

    • For how long

    • What your job titles were

    • Did you get promoted


  • Write a specific personal statement as this is 5 lines in your CV which will always be read….and make it specific. Generic bland statements such as “I’m a hardworking individual blah blah” need to go. I’d use this statement to say what you ‘are’, where you did it, what your qualifications are and what you want to do. Be very specific.


None of that suggests 2 pages is critical, does it!

Think 2018!



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