It’s not just the content of your CV that counts. Even if you’re the most qualified candidate, you can put yourself out of the running with a poorly presented CV. With recruiters barely spending 6-8 seconds reading through applications, you can follow a few simple rules to increase your chances of success.
Consider using a professional CV builder to take the guesswork out of the design and layout of your resume as well as greatly increase quality, leaving you to focus on the content.
1. Keep It Short and Succinct
You have a long career history and you want recruiters to know that you have the right skills and experience. While you want to tell a story, you shouldn’t try to cram everything you’ve ever done into 1-2 pages.
Instead, you’re more likely to impress recruiters by making use of bullet points to highlight key achievements. They’re a great way to improve the readability of your resume and force you to get to the point quickly.
2. Choose a Format That Works
If you’ve had a lot of jobs in a short space of time or are changing industries, the traditional chronological or reverse chronological CVmay not be the best option for you. This is because the focus is on your most recent experience and education
Instead, consider a skills-based format, which places the focus on your skills or better still, a combination or hybrid CV, which highlights your most recent experience and achievements.
3. Divide Sections Up with Clear Headings
Make your CV easy to scan by dividing all of your sections up with clear headings: personal statement, work experience, education, skills, internships, volunteer experience, etc. For maximum readability, make section headings two font sizes larger (14-16 pts) than the rest of the text on your CV and apply bold formatting.
4. Use An Appropriate Font
On the subject of fonts, use a font that can easily be read by ATS (Automated Tracking Systems). Sans-serif fonts (letters without tails) such as Arial, Calibri, Helvetica and Verdana work well because they are easy to read on small screens while looking professional.
On the other hand, serif fonts (letters with curly tails) such as Times Roman and Georgia are still preferred in traditional industries such as finance and law for their classic appearance.
Whichever font you go for, stick to the same font size (10-12 pts, depending on the font) throughout your CV for consistency.
5. Play It Safe With the Design
It may be tempting to experiment with colours, especially if you’re in a creative industry, but this can be risky if the design draws attention away from what’s important: your skills, experience and achievements.
If you do want to give your resume a splash of colour, stick to blacks, blues and greys with plenty of white space for a clean and professional look.
6. Consider Using a CVTemplate
Your CV is your marketing document, so it’s important that it looks sharp and professional. Misaligned paragraphs or margins or text crammed too tightly into a small space can all give the impression that you lack attention to detail and that you’re just as disorganised in person.
With a CV template, the design and layout are taken care of, so all you need to do is fill your information in the relevant sections and select a template.