My CV is too long: 3 ways to streamline your résumé

June 24, 2014

Getting your résumé to stand out in a pile of applications is easier when it's well-organized. If your CV is too long, here's how to pare it down.

My CV is too long: 3 ways to streamline your résumé

If you've recently been laid off or are trying to transition into a new career, your first step in the process of hunting for a new job is to create a compelling CV to send to prospective employers.

  • Traditional wisdom says to keep your CV to one or two pages, or employers will throw it out unread.
  • If you have a long employment history, this can pose a challenge. After all, you don't want it to appear that you have large gaps in employment or haven't been doing much with your time.

So what's the solution?

1. Consider a functional CV

When crafting your CV, keep in mind that its purpose is to demonstrate your qualifications for the position you're applying to.

  • If you have a long employment history, the best thing to do is to highlight experiences that demonstrate you have the required skill set and familiarity with the industry to do the specific job you're applying to.

To accomplish this, switch from a chronological format to a functional one.

  • In a functional CV, you head the work experience section with the words "Relevant Experience."
  • This gives employers a heads-up that you have more experience than what is listed here and demonstrates your understanding of the job requirements.
  • Choose three or four work experiences that particularly bolster your application and list them in the relevant experiences category.

Make sure to describe those experiences using action words that demonstrate your skills and be specific.

For example:

  • Instead of saying, "Handled accounts receivables and payables for Company XYZ," say, "Managed over $30,000 worth of accounts to ensure revenue was received and bills were paid in a timely manner."

2. Group non-relevant jobs together

In addition to creating your relevant jobs categories, you want to alert employers to your other work experiences so you don't appear to have large gaps in your employment.

You can save space while doing this by grouping those items together in your CV.

For example:

  • Instead of listing every clerical job you had over the past five years, you could have a heading such as "2008-2013: Short-term and temporary clerical assignments."
  • Underneath this heading, provide a description using the guidelines above to demonstrate your skill set.

3. Replace extraneous information with a summary statement

Instead of listing your entire job history and skill set on your CV, place a summary at the top of the page.

  • The summary explains your skills, experiences and objectives, so an employer can quickly scan it and determine whether to call you for an interview.
  • Keep the summary to three or four sentences and use positive, active language to attract an employer's interest.
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