Two-page CV myth unravelled
There are a lot of myths floating around about how to write an effective CV: where to include your education section, and in how much detail; whether to include personal details such as marital status and date of birth; if a column or table format works best, or even an adventurous font. However, as a recruiter, there is one CV myth that comes up time and time again and has us pulling our hair out.
Brand Recruitment writes:
We call it the ‘two-page doom’ and it takes the form of a high-calibre, experienced candidate frantically removing relevant and interesting information from their CV in order to tick a box that says it fits neatly onto two pages. Sounds crazy when you put it like that, eh?
At Brand Recruitment, we register hundreds of new marketing candidates each week, with a large majority of them meeting with a consultant who specialises in their sector either face-to-face, via video call, or at the very least, an initial in-depth registration call. During these conversations, we discuss the candidate’s CV amongst other things. And we find it truly amazing how many people have been recommended to cut their experience down to two pages because it is perceived as ‘neat’ and ‘easier to read’.
Obviously, there are candidates at the more junior level whose experience won’t exceed this length anyway, and that is completely fine. But the problem from a recruiter’s perspective is when lots of relevant career information is cut merely to make the CV under two pages long.
As a recruitment agency, we like to think that we act almost as human cover letters for our candidates – once we meet you, we use your experience and no doubt dazzling personality to sing your praises to our clients! However, at the end of day they’re still going to be looking at your CV and judging your suitability based on what is written. If they see something they like, they will take the extra thirty seconds to read an extra paragraph or two. So, what if the very thing that would secure an interview is the same thing that would push your CV over that two-page mark?
We’ve seen some cases where we’ve fed back to a candidate that they are unfortunately lacking XYZ experience needed for the role, to only then have it come to light that they have got this experience, but they have cut out that entire job role from their CV, which they needn’t have done, just to keep it under two pages. How is cutting key experience like this best showcasing your career history and all-round industry experience? How should a recruiter, let alone a hiring manager who only has your CV to go by, know that you have certain experience if it isn’t written down on your CV?
Which would you prefer: an interview for your ideal role, or a neat CV that doesn’t represent you accurately? In the famous words of Kevin Bacon and that series of EE TV ads, ‘it’s a no-brainer’.
For more CV writing tips, as well as advice on interviews please visit: https://www.brandrecruitment.co.uk/candidates/candidate-advice/.
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