CV Length – Questions answered

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Do not list skills in a separate section, integrate them, thus adding context to the role remits.
  6. Ensure to use terminology common to project management, especially if you have been working through a structured method such as Prince2, Agile etc.
  7. 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

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