When embarking on a job search, one of the most frequently asked questions is, “how long should my CV be?” A curriculum vitae (CV) is the first introduction a prospective employer has to you.

Curriculum Vitae is a Latin phrase that roughly translates to “course of life.” It’s a document that individuals use to present their background and skills to prospective employers. A CV typically includes information like work experience, achievements and awards, scholarships or grants you’ve earned, coursework, research projects, and publications of your work.

A well-crafted CV could be your ticket to landing an interview for that job title you’ve been eyeing. So, let’s jump into the details.

How to Start Your CV: Contact Details and Personal Statement

Creating a strong impression right from the start is crucial in crafting an effective CV. Therefore, beginning with your professional title and contact details sets the stage. Here’s what to include:

  • Professional Title and Contact Details

    Your professional title should come right at the very top of your CV. It should ideally reflect your current or most recent job title. This immediate introduction provides the hiring manager with a quick insight into your professional expertise and experience.

    Following your professional title, you should include your contact details. These should be updated and accurate to allow prospective employers an easy way to reach you. The essentials include your full name, telephone number, and professional email address.

    Your physical address can be included, but with the global shift towards remote work and digital communication, it’s becoming less critical to add this to your CV.

    If you have a LinkedIn profile, an online CV, or a professional website, you can include those links as well. Ensure any online presence is polished and up-to-date, as most employers will take the time to research further into promising candidates.

  • Crafting a Powerful Personal Statement

    A personal statement, also known as a CV profile or personal profile, is the element that adds personality to your CV. It’s essentially a succinct, compelling introduction of yourself that should pique the interest of a hiring manager.

    A personal statement is typically around 3-5 sentences long. It should convey who you are as a professional, what you can offer in terms of skills and experiences, and your career objective. For instance, a well-crafted personal statement might read: “Enthusiastic data analyst with over five years of experience in leveraging data-driven insights to drive business improvement and optimize overall performance. Seeking an opportunity to apply my advanced knowledge of data analysis tools and methods in a dynamic team.”

    Tailoring your personal statement to each specific job you apply for is essential. Highlight the skills and experiences that are most relevant to the job. Make sure to demonstrate your value and showcase how you can be an asset to a prospective employer.

    Starting your CV with a concise, engaging, and tailored personal statement ensures your application stands out from the start, capturing the attention of hiring managers and setting the stage for the rest of your CV.

Employment History: The Core of Your CV

The employment history section is often viewed as the core of your CV. This part of your CV provides a comprehensive overview of your professional experiences, detailing your journey through different roles, organisations, and industries. When well-crafted, it can paint a vivid picture of your career progression and highlight the valuable skills and experiences you’ve gathered along the way.

  • Order of Presentation

    Your employment history should ideally be presented in reverse chronological order, meaning your most recent role should be placed at the top. This format helps the hiring manager see your latest and, presumably, most significant experience first.

  • Key Components

    For each job title in your work history, provide a clear description and bullet-point list of your key responsibilities. Your job description should give a brief overview of the role and its main purpose within the organisation.

    Your key responsibilities, on the other hand, should highlight the specific tasks and duties you performed in each role. When writing these, remember to focus on what you achieved, not just what your job required you to do. This can often be effectively demonstrated by using action verbs at the beginning of your bullet points and including specific details, such as metrics or notable accomplishments.

  • Including Relevant Skills

    While detailing your employment history, it’s also crucial to highlight your transferable skills that are relevant to the job you’re applying for. Transferable skills are abilities you’ve gained throughout your professional (and sometimes personal) experiences that can be beneficial in various roles and industries.

    Examples of transferable skills include project management, communication, leadership, problem-solving, and many more. When a particular job or project allowed you to develop or showcase these skills, be sure to highlight this in the relevant employment history entry.

  • Saving Space

    Use bullet points for listing your responsibilities and achievements under each role. This enhances readability, helps hiring managers quickly identify key information, and allows you to efficiently utilize space.

  • Length of Employment History

    The length of your employment history section can vary depending on how far along you are in your career. If you’re a recent graduate or early career professional, this section may be shorter and supplemented with internships, volunteering, or relevant academic experiences. For more experienced professionals, this section will typically be more extensive, potentially spanning several decades.

    Regardless of the length, ensure this section is well-organised, concise, and tailored to the role you’re applying for. With careful consideration and a strategic approach, your employment history can effectively showcase your professional journey and highlight why you’re an excellent candidate for the job at hand.

Education: Showcase Your Qualifications

The education section should follow your employment history. List your educational qualifications in reverse chronological order, focusing on those most relevant to the job application. University careers service advisors often recommend including relevant modules or coursework for early career professionals.

  • Highlighting Key Skills

    In a skills-based curriculum vitae, you have a chance to emphasise your hard skills, such as data analysis, or soft skills, like being a team player. These skills should align with the job description. If you have language skills, especially in a foreign language, do not forget to include them.

  • Hobbies and Interests: Show Your Personality

    The hobbies and interests section is optional but can provide employers with insight into your personality traits. However, avoid generic phrases and focus on interests that demonstrate your personal qualities and soft skills relevant to the job.

  • Academic CV and Other Variations

    An academic CV tends to be longer, often detailing publications, research, and memberships in professional bodies. Similarly, a CV for creative fields may include an online link. A chronological CV emphasises work history, while a skills-based CV highlights specific key skills.

  • Finalising Your CV: Presentation and Review

    Your CV should look professional. Keep the font size readable and include white space for an uncluttered look. Proofread your CV to avoid any errors. Most employers recommend a length of 1-2 pages, but this is not a strict rule. What’s more important is that the CV includes all relevant information concisely

  • The Covering Letter: An Added Advantage

    While not a part of the CV, a good covering letter enhances your application. It allows you to detail why you’re suitable for the job, going beyond the bullet points on your CV.


A CV for a senior position can span two to three pages. It should concisely detail significant achievements, leadership roles, and valuable contributions to past employers.

An academic CV can be longer, extending to four or more pages, detailing research experience, publications, teaching experience, and related academic activities.

A cover letter should ideally be a single page, with three to four paragraphs. It should be tailored to the specific job, conveying your enthusiasm and suitability for the role.

A student CV should generally be one page long, detailing relevant coursework, internships, and transferable skills.

For most early-career professionals, a one-page CV suffices. However, if you have extensive relevant experience, it can spill onto two pages.

A resume with 20 years’ experience can be two to three pages long. Emphasise the most recent and relevant roles, summarising older roles.

An Irish CV should be one to two pages long for non-academic roles, ensuring the font size and layout provide a clear, easy-to-read document with plenty of white space.

It depends on the position and industry. While one to two pages is standard, some roles, like academic or senior-level positions, may warrant longer CVs. Always prioritise relevance and clarity.

Generally, your marital status doesn’t influence your ability to do a job and is unnecessary to include. Use this space to focus on skills and experience.

Using a CV builder or template can be a great starting point, but ensure it is personalised to reflect your unique skills and experiences.

To impress a hiring manager, ensure your CV and cover letter are tailored to the job description, showcasing how your skills and experiences make you the perfect fit for the role. During the interview stage, be confident, show your knowledge about the company, ask insightful questions, and illustrate how you can add value to the team.

For creative roles, an online portfolio can be an excellent way to showcase your work and stand out to employers. Include the link in your CV.

A skills-based CV is useful when there are gaps in your employment history or when your experience doesn’t directly align with the job you’re applying for. This CV type highlights transferable skills, placing less emphasis on chronological work history.


Remember, a CV’s length isn’t as important as its content. Take your time to craft a well-written CV that adequately highlights your qualifications, skills, and experiences relevant to the role you’re applying for. Our team at CareerHub is always available for consultation to make your CV shine. Happy job hunting!

Getting Professional Help with Your Curriculum Vitae

Crafting a CV can sometimes seem like a daunting task, especially when you’re making significant career moves or stepping into the job market for the first time. If you need assistance with writing or updating your CV, do not hesitate to contact us at CareerHub. Our expert career guidance councillor has extensive experience in CV writing across a wide range of industries. We can provide you with personalised guidance and support, ensuring your CV effectively showcases your skills, experiences, and potential. Whether you need help understanding what to include in a CV, deciding how to order your information, or even choosing the right words, we are here to help.