What’s the optimal CV/Resume length?

Sunday, October 5th, 2008 - CV Writing, Job Application, job hunting, resume writing

CV Length

Creative Commons License photo credit: ximenacab

Jeannie asks: What’s the optimal CV/Resume length for a long-tenured employee seeking a senior VP position in a Fortune 500 pharmaceutical company? I’m not really in the career development field, but many of my clients ask me career related questions. Can you bring me into the loop? I assume recruiters and headhunters want short resumes, but is that true for more seasoned employees at this high level? This person has been approached by a headhunter. Any other tips for this type of job seeker? Thanks!

In answer:
Simply, there is no standard answer to CV/Resume format or length!

There are formula’s based on seniority or career length, but those are just guidelines and nothing more.

The key criteria is: what does the advert/application process ask for?

The key issue is: how did the candidate find the opportunity? A job application is a two way process, not a one way communication:

  • If the candidate found it in the WSJ/NYT or online, and there are no application instructions, then its likely they are in competition with at least 20 other executives who could have the relevant skills/experience package – probably at present more like 50+. Human Resources departments and retained recruiters won’t want much more on a first application that a 2page CV/Resume focused on the key competencies outlined in the advert. Many senior post adverts ask for a portfolio/reduced CV format
  • If the applicant was head hunted, then they each have a standard format requirement, and often this can run to 4/6+ pages. This often includes the need for a list of reference points, which a 2page CV/resume wouldn’t cover
  • If the candidate was approached directly to apply for the post by the board or a senior executive, then why not just ask them?

I have answered a similar question for a senior executive, and suggested to him that he created a portfolio of work history and achievements, which could be as long as he wanted, but focused eventually on what he wanted to do next. Then, when a suitable position came up under any of the above three typical scenarios, he could quickly create a suitable format application whatever the employers need.

I think everyone should have a work portfolio, which gives a full record of career achievements – and everyone forgets something at some time. This can then be used to create the best job application that any potential future employer requires, in what ever required format.

Good Luck!

If you need an interview winning solution, sign-up for our Professional CV service

Be Sociable, Share!

Comments are closed.

Recent Posts



Review cv4.biz on alexa.com