In-line with my regular Q&A sessions this week we have a good question from a candidate who wants to understand what the acceptable length is for a CV.
Can you please answer me how long my CV should be – I have lots of experience in the PPM domain covering an expanse of different types of projects and programmes, when it comes to writing a CV I find I am not able to keep the document down to a short list.
Sharon, Programme Manager; London.
Hi Sharon, many thanks for your question – it is a question often asked and one which can simply be answered by stating “2 or 3 sides”. However as you are finding it difficult to keep the document to a length deemed acceptable in the recruitment field I would like to address a few things:
When compiling your CV you should look to take the following guidelines on board.
- It is important to include all your employment history; however I suggest you keep the bulk of the detail to your most recent roles. Roles over 10 years old need only be a line on the CV including dates, employer and job title.
- When writing the detail in your remit for the more recent roles – look to address the following: number and type of projects, stakeholders, benefits, how you deliver, size and complexity. Additional information such as any major issues – simply stating delivered on time and to budget doesn’t tell us a great deal. For example you may have had to gain “buy in” from teams / senior management etc. or globally dispersed stakeholders with cultural differences and availability may have been a challenge.
- Rather than adding achievements to individual roles; you could look to address “key achievements” at the top of the CV – these can be interchanged for particular job applications, ensuring you have relevant detail available to the hiring manager for that role.
- The key achievements must not be too lengthy, try to keep to a structure of describing what the project or piece of work was, your input and the results achieved – employers like to see how you can add value so £ and %’s are good to add here if appropriate.
- Do not list skills in a separate section, integrate them, thus adding context to the role remits.
- Ensure to use terminology common to project management, especially if you have been working through a structured method such as Prince2, Agile etc.
- Treat the document like MI; clear and concise – do not say in 30 words which can be stated in 10 or 15. Keep to the point but do not just write a job description.
The good news is that you have too much information – now it is time to edit the document back down to a shorter version, you can keep the long version as a master copy and pick and choose relevant information for specific applications. By creating more than one version of your CV you will be in a position to swiftly apply for a range of roles specific to your skill set.
At The CV Righter we provide a free CV review and career guidance to project professionals and those wishing to enter into PM. Send your CV through our contact page at: www.thecvrighter.co.uk