Tips for being concise on your CV

We're often told that it's important to stick to a short CV – with two pages of content a commonly cited suggestion for length.

But are two sides really long enough to fit in everything you have to say about yourself?

For some first jobbers even that small amount of space may seem like more than is needed. And it's important to note that you don't have to fill up two pages – if you can fit it all on one, that's great too.

But if you're going to need to boil things down a little to get it onto two pages, one way to help achieve this is to be concise about how you use language.

Here are some tips that might help.

Be less conversational

Sometimes, it's appropriate to be conversational on your CV, but those asides or mention of a hobby that isn't directly relevant to the job you've applied for may not be worth it if you have to miss out important details of your current role, for example.

It's about finding the right balance, but remember that a CV is a formal document in most cases, so it will often improve it to have conversational aspects removed.

Use lists

If you're struggling to find space for details about all the things you did in a job, it can be useful to boil responsibilities down to a summary list, such as: 'I served customers, worked the till and maintained the dining area.' Though you might have to miss out some specifics, you can always be asked about these at interview if needs be.

Think about individual words that aren't needed, too. The above example could become 'Responsibilities: serving customers, working till, maintaining dining area' if needs be – cutting three words which might be the difference between two and three sides.

Set limits

Consider creating a set limit for each part of your CV, based on how important it is. For example, it's often best to include the most detail about the job you're in now. You could say that this deserves two four-line paragraphs, for example, while other work positions get one four-line paragraph each.

Education could be reduced to a more detailed list of your most relevant qualifications, with a summary of others (10 GCSEs A*-C, for example), indicating an interviewer can ask more about these if needed.

When it comes to hobbies, if your list is taking up lots of space, consider pruning so that only those that are most relevant to the job remain. This part of the CV can be really useful and give an indication that you're an interesting person, but there's no need to make it exhaustive!

Berkeley Scott is a specialist hospitality recruitment agency.

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