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Simple and easy tips for CV formatting
December 1, 2016
Everyone talks about how to write a good CV, how about the design of a good CV?
Now perhaps I am just a stickler for ensuring everything has the perfect formatting, same font type, size, bold for headings, italics for side-notes, bullet points all aligned etc. Graduates, sales people and seasoned recruiters are all guilty of poor formatting, yes you can bill £200k a year, but why can’t you align your bullet points and use the same font throughout!?
“The CV is dead!”
...heretics will say in response, but what does everyone ask to see when they are discussing a job opportunity with you? Yes, LinkedIn is great, but in Rec2Rec in particular clients will always want to see a CV. It is still an important part of most hiring processes, especially if you are applying through the 'traditional' methods, as opposed to newer hiring apps.
Perhaps it is my background in Pharmaceutical communications, we ensured everything was formatted down to a T. With drug/product slide decks, we used the gridlines and every single page was painstakingly aligned, when the client made changes we re-aligned, and this continued until the night before the deadline, of course! With our design work, all text had to be placed correctly and images would be placed to create an ideal visual flow. As a Rec2Rec, I think these sorts of principles should be applied to the way CVs are presented.
I have seen some amazingly designed CVs before that caught my attention and actually made me spend more time reading through. Of course the content is king, but when a hiring manager/Rec2Rec is sifting through heaps of CVs, you need something to stand out and give you that precious extra review time. This applies more to entry level roles, however with experienced recruiters if your CV is ugly and poorly formatted, what does this say to a prospective employer?
I would suggest keeping it clean but visually pleasing, I am not necessarily advocating those art-worked types with skills ratings.
I think the following are important:
Consistent font and text size
Bullet points, all correctly aligned – use the ruler on word
Use bold or underline on headings only, bold and underline is too much
Consistency between the – and -
Subtle use of colour
I would appreciate your opinions on this, maybe I am being pedantic with the formatting.