One Page CV or Resume – Why is it a Good Idea, How to Write it (an Exercise)

A “one page CV, what? Are you nuts??!!”

Have you ever been confounded by this employer request?

“Please send a 1 page CV.”

You may think that one-page CV is just not long enough to do you justice. How can you possibly describe where you’ve been and what you’ve done in one page? So, when you’re asked for a one page CV what do you do? Is it worth the hassle and the time it’ll take to put it together?

Good Reasons for a One Page CV

Yes it is, and for good reasons.

  1. One, that’s what the employer or the recruiter as asked for. give it to them.
  2. But secondly, writing a 1 page CV is a good exercise for you.
  3. And thirdly, it’s short, sharp and very persuasive as a sales tool.

It’s good because it will force you to think about who you are and what you do. And it’ll force you to put it in the simplest and most concise terms. It’ll force you to make it easy to understand. It’ll force you to define it in your own mind – it’ll make clear. It’ll also force you to put all your best achievements front and centre.

And all of that is good for you. In a crowded job market, where few have a sharp, simple, hard hitting message of benefit to an employer, you will stand out! You’ll be fresh. You won’t be weighed down by detail.

In my experience as a CV writer and recruiter, very few people ever do this. Yes they can go on for 10 pages about what they do and where, but can they be concise and clear, definite about what they do and the benefit they bring to a company? Not very often.

And it’s the reason recruiters and employers HR people ask for one or one or two page CV. It doesn’t take them 10 pages to figure out whether you should be called in for an interview or not. It takes just one or two. They want relevant information short, sharp and concise.

How Does a One Page CV Help You?

But there’s another benefit alluded to in point 3 above. And it is this: a one-page CV creates a great first impression. In what way?

A 1 page CV exudes confidence, youth, energy, focus.

There is an energy about it. The opposite is the 45 or 60 year old person with a 20 page CV and he’s uncertain, and he’s lost confidence, and perhaps he feels he’s no longer relevant in the job market. But that’s not necessarily true. It’s maybe that he’s just presenting himself badly. He’d bogged down by the details of his curriculum vitae (“life course”). He’s forgotten that the reason he gets hired are really pretty simple and quick to outline.

My 1 Page CV Challenge to You, NOW

So, I challenge you: take all that you’ve learnt, take all your skills, take all your qualifications, and all your experience and distill it down to one page.

Show clearly and concisely what benefits you have brought to your previous employers; highlight your biggest achievement; even include a quote or two from a performance appraisal or a testimonial. Make this one page CV your marketing showcase.

Here are some other one page CV writing tips:

  • Focus on your most recent experience.
  • Focus on your most relevant qualifications
  • Focus on your most relevant and recent achievements.
  • Summarise older experience.
  • And lastly write a short three or mostly at most four line opening paragraph explaining what you do, that you do it well, how long you’ve been doing it, for and how you are qualified to do it.
Even if you never use the one-pager CV, you’ll feel more confident, more prepared marketer of “you”.
[IFyou need help – perhaps your current CV is long and you feel also, “boring” and perhaps it’s having no impact in the job market for you … THEN contact me. I’ve done 20 000 hours of CV writing and am on a constant mission to make my client’s CVs more exciting, more powerful, more ‘interview landing’.
And I’ve developed unique ways of doing this so that the CV ends up twisting the arm of an employer, practically forcing them to contact you. I’m at gerard [at] jobsearching.co.za – e-mail me and I’ll send you some free info.]