How long should my resume be? What is the ideal CV length? As recruiters, we often get asked these questions.
One of our guest bloggers Chris Hart recently wrote us an article on a similar subject: dos and don’ts for tech CV writing. As well as listing some of the obvious points (don’t swear, spell correctly, and never use Comic Sans) he also commented on preferred CV length:
“You don’t need to make it 1-2 pages long. This is nonsense, I don’t know who said this, but it probably dates back to the 80’s. We want details. Don’t make it 10 pages long. I would say 4 is okay, 6 is the absolute limit, but I would avoid that if you can. 3-4 pages should be your rule of thumb.”
We see a lot of CV’s at Venturi ranging from 1 page to more than 20 (we’re not kidding). The subject has been debated in the office, and we have now reached a consensus.
The perfect CV length for a data or BI candidate
We know it’s difficult to get all your information onto a two page CV. And it’s something we wouldn't advise trying (unless you at the start of your career!). Unlike other industries, BI & data has a myriad of different specialties, coding languages, and frameworks you can specialise in.
You need a CV that gets across your many skills but is also concise enough that your key achievements aren’t lost in a sea of waffle. Less hassle means hiring managers are more likely to read more of your CV.
With all that in mind, we advise the ideal CV length of a BI or data CV is 5 pages.
We came to this decision after discussing several points:
Is it all relevant?
Everyone wants to show off their knowledge in their CV and it can be tempting to try and do this by displaying every single skill you’ve learned to date.
Remember, you’re advertising yourself for a role not giving a recruiter your entire life history. Keep the CV relevant to the job at hand.
The 5-page rule works well here as it gives you more than enough space to present all your relevant skills if you cut out the unnecessary stuff.
Are you repeating yourself?
We see this a lot. If you’ve worked with Hadoop in your last role you don’t need to bullet point it in the past four positions you’ve had. This takes up valuable space on your CV that you could use to present fresh information.
If you have technical languages you really want to draw attention to it’s better to mention the number of years you’ve worked with them in your cover letter or summary. To be sure they’re noticed, mention them again in the details of your most recent role. But leave it at that. Any more is just overkill.
If you’ve written your CV and it’s punching above our 5-page limit go back over it and remove any repeated text. That goes for synonyms too. You can describe how you’re a great team player in many different ways but ultimately you’re making the same point.
White space is your friend
Nobody likes being presented with densely packed blocks of text. It's a sure-fire way to immediately lose the attention of a hiring manager.
With a 5 page limit, you have room to display each of your roles in an engaging manner. Keep the focus on what you want hiring managers to see, and use formatting to draw attention to any key information.
Bullet points are your friend and white space around your text helps draw eyes to what you want readers to see.
If your CV is two or three pages look it over and see if there are any keys skills you have that are hidden in paragraphs of text. Pull them out and make a bullet-pointed list to make life easier for those reading your CV.
If you stick to these three rules your CV will strike a nice balance between detailed and concise. Hopefully, it will demonstrate why you are the perfect person for the role you’re applying for.
Looking for a new role in BI or data? Quick send your CV today.