Write a 5 Page CV – Why?

Posted on March 10, 2019

Of late, I have worked with people on their CVs and am confused as to why some are still writing 5 pages.  I know that there are reasons behind it and I will discuss these with a hope that people will see how wrong that thinking is.  I will then provide MY thinking about how a CV should be viewed as you write it and then how it should be reviewed.

There are people and elements within the resettlement community that suggest you should put everything down on your CV – “Sell yourself and show people what you are able to do!”.  As a result, people put everything down showing a multiplicity of skills, the different roles throughout service and post service and this can be confusing to someone that has no background in the military or has worked closely with veterans.  As a result, the message this sends is:  Read my CV and pick the bones out of it, I’m sure it’s in there!!

Now, to get you into how to think of a CV, as you watch TV of an evening, watch some adverts and give them some critical analysis:  time them and see how long they last, note the main points of the sale, see who the adverts are aimed at and note what gives you that impression.

The one thing that you will note quickly is that the ads are short – usually around 10 seconds, nevertheless, all the relevant information is there to generate interest or develop a need to know more.  You will note that an advert for a car is not full of detailed specifications, options and driving outcomes.  It is designed to make you go and look at one and test drive it… this gives the sales people an opportunity to do their job.

And so it is with a CV, you keep it short, give them the detail to make them want to interview you.  It REALLY does need to be only 2 pages… maybe even one!

While I could write a book on writing your CV after military service, my primary advice is don’t overplay it!  During your service in the military, you are required to fulfil on a number of roles and responsibilities that are not easy to communicate to a civilian business where there is more of a one-man-one-job kind of mentality.  It is important to make sure that your CV is specific to the role (details in the Job Spec), where possible.  Obviously, the roles that you have that are not relevant to the position you seek can be glossed over with only the relevant transferable skills included.

When you come to review your CV, it needs to “fit”.  You need to be able to read it and feel that it is you in there.  It should feel like a well-fitting jacket and be something that you could talk about without having to refer to it.  If the CV gets you to interview, you can then take the opportunity to explain why you have skills broader than the job specification, why the high-value transferable skills you possess are inherent in your training.

Take time to review and re-write your CV where necessary, keep it brief, keep it pertinent to the role, and make sure it “fits”.

Good luck and we are always here for people looking for support.


At what point should you start the Resettlement Process?

  • More than 2 years before you depart? (40%, 6 Votes)
  • 2 years before departure? (33%, 5 Votes)
  • Around 6 months before last day? (13%, 2 Votes)
  • 12 Months prior to departure? (13%, 2 Votes)

Total Voters: 15

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