Job-hopefuls warned against the 2-page CV

The two-page Curriculum Vitae, traditionally seen as the staple length for job-seekers looking to impress, appears to have fallen out of favour with HR officers, line managers and recruiters.

Despite being the conventional wisdom among CV advice services, ending a CV before it runs onto a third page is not endorsed by the majority of professionals who vet and hire candidates.

In fact, having quizzed 89 professionals with such duties at public and private organisations, consultancy CV Writers found that 75% think a CV’s length should “depend on the nature of role” it is submitted for.

The finding “suggests more flexibility may be needed” from candidates with their CVs, the firm said, in light of the “generally held convention” that says two pages is optimal.

Commissioned to explore the role of covering letters, the research also throws up the approaches – and attitudes - that agents, client managers or screeners adopt in the hiring seat.

Nearly 30% of recruiters won’t read a CV unless there is a covering letter that impresses them first but, regardless of its content, a fifth will dismiss the covering letter outright.

If they do read it, 40% of the decision-makers either ‘sometimes’ or ‘never’ forward it to the appropriate manager, meaning that almost half the time the initial recipient of a covering letter is its only reader.

“Use the covering letter to confirm who you are, the job you’re applying for and, most importantly, briefly summarise why you feel you’re the right candidate for the job,” CV Writers said. “Use your CV to persuade and convince you’ve got the right skills and qualities.”

Director Neville Rose added: “The employment marketplace continues to be very challenging for job seekers. You’ll considerably improve your career openings by tailoring your covering letter and CV to each application and making sure they work together as a unit.”

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Friday 2nd September 2011