It doesn’t matter how skilled, experienced and qualified you are for a role if your CV layout doesn’t look professional. There are two main aspects an employer looks for when short-listing for interviews – presentation and content.
Your application has to not only look professional but also offer the employer the skills and qualifications they are looking for in a well written and well structured CV.
It can be very easy to focus so much upon what we write within our CV that sometimes the layout can take a back seat. No matter what role you’re applying for, here are some dos and don’ts for your CV layout
CV layout ‘must dos’
Stick to two pages
The standard amount of pages for a CV is two, and although there are some exceptions to this rule and three to four pages are possible, most of the time an employer prefers just two.
The medical industry would be a good example of when three to four pages is acceptable because of the amount of qualifications and employment history that often accompanies this type of industry – but for the most part two pages will be fine.
Keeping your CV short and to the point is the best way to ensure you stick to two pages, as three could find the employer getting bored. You don’t have to list every single task for each of your past roles, and instead only focus on your most recent and relevant roles.
Use a professional font
You can’t go wrong with the standard Times New Roman, but there are also some other fonts which look professional and are acceptable on a CV. Fonts like Arial, Calibri, and Cambria are all recognised as acceptable fonts for a CV or resume.
The font and size you choose is designed to make your CV not only look professional but should be easy to navigate. Remember, the hiring manager will have lots of CVs to read through, so the right font is a must.
Use reverse chronological order
Your employment history (and education) should be in reverse chronological order, with your most recent or current role at the start. An employer would always be more interested in your current employment status and will pay little attention to your early roles if you have a long work history.
Use correct spacing
Each section of your CV should be adequately spaced apart allowing the reader to easily move from one to the next. Be careful not to distance your sections too much as this will use up a lot of valuable space, and when trying to stick to two pages this could make things much harder.
Highlight your best parts
Always try to play to your strengths and bring those to the forefront of your CV. If you are lacking in work experience, then try to focus upon your education. This is especially important to recent school leavers.
Take note of the skills required from the job advert and make sure they are clear and present on your CV. The layout of your CV should ensure that all of the relevant skills and qualifications are easy to see.
Use bullet points
Rather than lump everything into one lengthy paragraph you should use bullet points. This works really well when listing skills for instance, but if you find that at any point when writing your CV that you have a lengthy sentence or paragraph, consider using bullet points and ensure you are always concise and straight to the point.
State your professional title
If you have a professional title – Solicitor for example, then this should always go next to your name and both should be in a larger font at the top. This will attract the hiring manager’s attention and look professional.