It can be a challenge to create an aesthetically pleasing and logically organized CV that includes all the necessary information. Here are five easy ways to ensure that your CV is laid out professionally and efficiently. Or, you can simplify the process even further by using a CV template.
1. Let Your Name Serve as a Title
First, there’s no need to title the document as ‘CV’ or ‘Curriculum Vitae’ as this will be obvious to employers and doing so will just take up extra space. Instead, write your name in flarge font across the top of your CV and let that serve as the title of the document.
2. Use Headings and Bullet Points To Organise Your CV
Use headings to divide your CV in easily digestible sections. For example, label your work experience, education, skills, and optional CV sections with headings in bold text that is larger than the body text – 14 to 16 point font is typical for section headings.
Additionally, use bullet points to break up the text within your CV sections. Under each of your past jobs, include three to five bullet points that highlight the skills you gained or honed in each position. Focus on listing achievements rather than job duties, and quantify your accomplishments with numbers and data wherever possible.
Hiring managers will likely spend less than 10 seconds scanning your CV, so it’s important to organise the document in a way that’s easy to read quickly.
3. Use Reverse Chronological Order
List everything on your CV in reverse chronological order – start with your current or most recent position and work backwards in time from there. Do the same for your education details, listing your most recent or most advanced degree first followed by any additional degrees.
This way, when potential employers are scanning your CV, they will see your most recent achievements and experience first.
4. Choose a Professional Font and Colour Scheme
A CV is a professional document, so although you do want to stand out from a crowd of applicants, this isn’t the time for fun fonts and colours. Stick to an easy-to-read font like Arial, Calibri, Times New Roman, or something similar. For the body text, use a font size between 10 and 12 points.
Select a font colour that’s dark and legible, like black, dark grey, or navy. You may want to add a pop of colour in your CV header or for section headings, but stay away from excessively bright or obnoxious colours.
5. Use Adequate Line Spacing and Margins
The page margins for your CV should be between 2 and 2.5 centimeters, although you can adjust them a bit in order to fit everything on a single page. However, avoid setting your margins smaller than 1.25 centimeters, as it will make the page look cluttered and text could be cut off when your CV is printed out.
Select 1.0 or 1.15 line spacing for your body text, and add a double space after each heading or subheading. This will allow you to fit a lot of information on your CV without creating a dense wall of text.