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March 15th, 2024

How long should my CV be?

Working on a laptop, doing work, featured on XCL Website

How to write a CV with a long work history

When writing a CV, a question most people ask themselves is – “How Long should my CV be?”

Well, there isn’t a right or wrong answer to this question, as each employer has different expectations and every job has a varied list of requirements, but generally it is the consensus that a CV should be kept as close to two pages as possible.

However, condensing down your CV can be challenging, especially when you have a long work history. Therefore, XCL Group have put together some tips to help you write a successful CV.

Keep old roles brief

A simple way to shorten a CV is to condense down the descriptions of the older or less relevant job roles you’ve done. The chances are a potential employer will look at more recent positions, whereas older job roles i.e. ones worked 5, 10 or even 15 years ago, are generally there to show your working background and the kind of path your career has taken over the years. If you do have a lot of working experience, it may be an idea just to list your oldest job roles, with no description, to save on space.

Make sure you give the most detail when writing about your recent positions, as this will highlight your current skills along with the value you could bring to a potential new employer – and it will most likely be the case that your most recent work experience is the most relevant.

 

 

Highlight your most relevant roles

Another way to condense down a lengthy CV, is to just pay attention to emphasising the work experience that’s most relevant to the role you’re applying for.

Make sure you home in on the skills and experience that are listed in the job specification as key requirements, focusing on highlighting as many as possible in your CV. If it’s the case you have a wide variety of skills, that aren’t exactly relevant to what you’re applying for, you may then choose to take these out altogether, after all the key is to reduce the length of your CV.

However, still bear in mind that every role is different and will require a different set of skills - especially if it’s the case you’ve applied for a few jobs across a number of different sectors. Therefore, you may need to have a few different versions of your CV so it’s tailored to suit each job application.

 

 

Focus on your achievements

If you do find yourself struggling for space on your CV, another way to reduce this in size and keep it clear and concise, is to highlight your accomplishments and achievements, in each of your previous roles, instead of just describing every task you carried out. You could also explain about how you added value to the company you worked at and how this could be transferred to the job you’re applying for.

Trying to keep your CV as short as possible, while still retaining all the key points that are required to show you’re a good fit for the job can be a challenge, but with employers trawling through a high number of CVs each day, making sure that your CV is clear, to the point and easy to read is essential.


Once you've created a successful CV, you may then have an interview to attend and last month XCL Group did a blog on interview tips.

Take a look, to help you with the next step.
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