Struggling to shorten your CV? Make these five changes


Clipboard with CV writtenYour CV is one of the first opportunities you have to make an impression on your prospective employer. Employers are not just looking for evidence that you can do the job advertised, they also want to see evidence of good written communication skills and how you can add value. This means writing concisely, clearly and in a logical manner. You need to be able to grab the attention of the reader within the first 20 seconds so keeping your CV to around 2-3 pages is highly recommended. If you’re not sure how to shorten your CV you might want to consider the following:

1. Profile

Having a profile or a summary of experience statement is essential on a CV and it is important to keep it concise. It should be approximately seven lines long and needs to include 3-4 areas of expertise you can offer in line with the job description. This is the first part of the CV that will determine your suitability for the position, if you are listing other requirements the reader may not continue to read your CV.

2. Previous Employment

Shorten your CV to focus on the roles you’ve had held in the last ten years, in particular the last few positions. Mentioning earlier positions in your career history only requires a couple of bullet points for each position. The first page of the CV will be the main focus, therefore any positions held on page 2 or 3 will not require the same level of detail. For any roles that aren’t relevant to the position you are applying for, consider completing your career history with the statement “Previous employment history available upon request”.  If you want to focus on transferable skills from a range of roles held, a combination or functional CV would be another format to consider.

 3.  Skills

You probably have a long list of transferable skills that you’ve built up during your career. You don’t necessarily need to list them all on your CV, it is better to incorporate only those that are specific to the requirements of the job that is being advertised.

4. Responsibilities and Achievements

Demonstrate how you added value in your previous roles. Achievements are more impressive than past responsibilities to a prospective employer, so give your achievements more space. Turn your responsibilities into achievement statements. Write in the past tense, say what you did (rather than what you were there to do) and the impact this had. Did you save time, money or improve processes?

5.  Bulleted Lists

When listing your achievements and responsibilities aim to keep each bullet point to no more than three lines, try to start each bullet point with an action verb.

For example, change

  • ‘As part of my role I was responsible for identifying …..’


  • ‘Analysed and identified…..’

It’s worth remembering that few jobs are secured on the strength of a CV alone, however, how you tailor and shorten your CV and sell yourself with achievement statements is crucial to securing an interview. Ask for feedback, remember writing a successful CV is an on-going process.

Renovo is one of the UK’s leading providers of outplacement and career transition support. We work with both organisations and individuals to support all their career transition requirements. If you would like to understand how Renovo can help you please call 0800 612 2011 or email

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