Articles From the Team
CVs and the “Two Page Myth”
We see a range of CVs on a daily basis ranging in length from fifteen pages to one page, however the most common length we see is exactly two pages long. Why? Time and time again I hear that candidates have been told that their CV should be two pages long in order to catch the potential employers attention with a short and snappy CV detailing a few career highlights and their education history. This is an issue that frustrates me on a daily basis and I believe the idea of two pages being the ‘perfect amount’ is nothing more than a myth and here’s why;
Every candidate is different - legal experience and backgrounds are going to change on a person by person basis and your potential employer understands this. Firms are always looking to interview people who they believe will fit into the firm and be capable of doing the required tasks, in the majority of cases you’re going to need more than two pages to detail your relevant experience in order to secure an interview. For example; a candidate who has had a number of legal internships and exposure to high quality work from an early part of their career is likely to be able to detail more relevant experience than a candidate with the same PQE but no previous experience and lower quality work. However, if both candidates had two pages of A4 to detail their experience, it’s pretty likely that those two pieces of A4 would look similar. The employer isn’t going to see a substantial difference in the two candidates due to the limited space and therefore may pick the candidate who has less experience. The aim of a CV is to sell yourself in the best possible light to a potential employer and make them believe that you are the right person to help take the company forward. The best way to do this is to add detail to your CV and show clear examples of experience that will give you a competitive edge over your rival. Two pieces of A4 in my opinion isn’t enough to give you this edge.
However, the adage less is more does hold some weight as too much information in a CV can be information overload and of course you do want to ensure that all detail is relevant and enhances your application.
So what is my advice?
In summary, there is no perfect formula to writing a CV, and if there was I’m positive it would be longer than two pieces of A4. What I would recommend you do is to speak to one of the many specialist recruiters at BCL Legal who deal with a whole range of CV’s on a day to day basis. We will be open and honest in our opinions and will discuss which areas of the CV need more detail and which areas could be removed or reduced. We are here to help and know exactly what clients are looking. We can tailor your CV and experience to each clients needs. Even if it means adapting the CV for each application you make in order to add appropriate detail and put the most important aspects first - we’re more than happy to help you increase the chances of you getting that dream job. After all that is what we are here for.