Well all know that it’s the content that’s key but the way you present your CV can say a lot about your attitude to work, your decision-making skills and your overall professionalism. Although it’s good to stand out, try to be remembered for the right reasons.
If your CV stretches to over 2 sides edit it carefully – don’t just reduce the font! 10pt should be the minimum and anything over 12pt (for the paragraph text) seems a little overkill. A safe 11pt doesn’t strain our eyes and should give you plenty of space to extoll your virtues. Think about the font you use carefully. A default Times New Roman or Arial suggests you haven’t considered the presentation and although you may think that aesthetics is the least of your worries, to the hirer it may come across as slap-dash. You’re not applying for a job as a graphic designer but taking time to present a good-looking, easy to read text is just a little thing you could do to get an advantage. Finally don’t use more than two fonts – one for headings one for body text; more than 2 suggests a flyer for a village fair rather than a professional CV.
Please help us understand your CV as quickly as possible. At the extreme end I’ve received CV’s that are presented like essays with paragraph after paragraph detailing past experience, skills and goodness knows what else. If you are an IT consultant it is crucial that you start with your specialism(s) clearly marked. You then want to state your technical acumen, clearly laying out the languages, platforms and software you use.
Be sure to use clear headers so us simple recruiters know exactly where you’re going to present what information. In fact your experience, qualifications and affiliations should act to support this first declaration of your skills. Imagine someone is seeing your CV for the first time. Would they be able at one glance to locate information?
If you are a professional designer then by all means go wild with colour. If you’re an IT consultant we’d always recommend a two colour limit. When you read guidance suggesting you should make your CV stand out, please do it by clearly stating all your incredibly relevant skills rather than colourful border designs. Your body text should always be black or dark grey and a coloured heading is acceptable but please ensure it is professional and legible. Don’t make us feel embarrassed to present your CV however brilliant your credentials are!
Please don’t include a photo on your CV. In some countries it is normal to include a photo but in many places it contravenes discrimination rules and our clients insist photos are not included in the vast majority of cases. If you have embedded your photo in the document we’ll ask you to remove it and unfortunately if we have many candidates we may just decide not to forward you. There should be no reason to include a photo – I assure you you’ll be hired on the basis of your skills rather than your looks!
Check out these links for some further tips