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4 steps to shorten a lengthy CV

If you are missing out on job interviews due to a lengthy CV, then try some of these tactics to reduce its size without losing vital information.

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As a candidate, you are often told to keep your CV to around the two-page mark to keep recruiters interested, but this can be difficult when you have a long and varied career history.

You know you must keep your CV brief to ensure that it gets your message across swiftly, but you also want to cram in all of your skills and knowledge without missing anything important.

If you have a six-page CV and you are struggling to cut it down to a manageable size, the following tips should help you transform it into a short and to-the-point document, without losing any of its power.

1. Know what’s important

Before you start making efforts to reduce the size of your CV, it’s essential to spend some time researching your target employers. Without knowing what your most in-demand skills are, and which skills are less valuable on the market, it will be difficult to edit your CV effectively.

Scan through a wide selection of job adverts that you might apply for, and make a list of the most commonly occurring requirements in terms of experience, qualifications, skills and knowledge.

Once you have built a list of sought-after talents, you will be in a much stronger position to adapt your CV accordingly.

2. Shorten older roles

A common mistake that leads many candidates towards possession of a lengthy CV, is the inclusion of too much detail in dated roles.

Recruiters will spend lots of time scrutinising your current and recent roles, but they won’t be particularly interested in work that you did five, ten or even twenty years ago.

If you have dated roles that are stretching over many lines of text, then look to start shortening them down. Older roles are only really included to give readers an idea of your background and career progression – so there’s no need for granular detail in them.

Below is a sample CV section that shows how dated roles can be listed to save space – a short summary or even just the title and dates will suffice in a many cases.

3. Cut out irrelevant information

Once you’ve researched your target employers and you understand what your most in-demand skills are, you can start to cut out some of the less relevant details. Scan through your CV profile, role descriptions, education, and remove anything that may be surplus to requirement.

For example, is that first aid course you did ten years ago really going to help you secure an interview for a finance role? There will probably be some instances where you can just shorten down information too if you are worried about cutting it out completely.

4. Write concisely

Long-winded sentences that fail to get the point quickly, will easily push your CV onto three or four pages if you let them. Avoid overusing personal pronouns, (I did, I was etc.) cut out filler words, (just, so, very, really etc.) and try to keep your bullet points to one line or less.

For example, instead of writing:

  • I was placed in charge of the very biggest team in the company to provide them with management oversight and I created sales of 500 units for every month worked.

You could reduce the sentence and improve its message by writing:

  • Leading company’s largest team and delivering 500 unit sales per month.

Keeping your statements brief like this will not only save space on your CV, but will make your messages easier to read and more impactful.

If you are missing out on job interviews due to a lengthy CV, then try some of the above tactics to reduce its size without losing vital information.

Ideally you should try and keep your CV to around two pages in length in order to hold the attention of recruiters and hiring managers, and persuade them to invite you to interview.


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5 Comments

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  1. Joe Saturday, 10 Jun, 2017 at 3:14 pm

    Thank you very much, I have recently been shortening my CV and have now got a job so your information is successful.

  2. Iain Blake Saturday, 10 Jun, 2017 at 4:11 pm

    Different career advisers offer many variants of CV length, layout, advise etc. Rather like taking your car to 5 separate garages for a fault diagnosis, you will usually get 5 different views. I would say keep it neat with good grammar, applicable to the role, and be honest. This works for me as I get interviews. However it does concern me that if employers can not be bothered spending more than 6 seconds reading my CV, do I really want to work for a company with such shallow staff, it would take them longer to check out my social media profile!. I do wish HR staff would also understand what skills I have gained to secure previous roles. Instead of me having to ram them down their throat at every interview. HR should use initiative as well!!

  3. Naseem Akhtar Saturday, 10 Jun, 2017 at 5:07 pm

    Martin thanks for your advice to shorten my CV I have made it into a two page CV

  4. K.Aly Saturday, 10 Jun, 2017 at 11:28 pm

    Thank you I well work on my CV and send back the new improved one to you .

  5. Lola Sunday, 11 Jun, 2017 at 6:20 am

    Thank you for your advice ,knowledge truly is power .

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