CV Layout

The term CV layout refers to the design of the visual presentation. Although final recruitment decisions are not made on visual presentation alone, as opposed to content, the way information is assembled makes a very important first impression and could mean the difference between someone bothering to spend time with your CV - or moving on to the next one.

The Basics
A good layout needs good paper in white or cream - for the best results and impression, use quality, heavyweight paper. Your CV should not be longer than TWO pages of A4, unless you are a senior executive with decades of relevant experience, in which case three pages is acceptable for UK job applications. It can be one page if you are a recent school / college leaver or if you do not have a great deal of employment experience, but make sure that the one page is full. The CV should not look cramped - keep a reasonable amount of white space and borders. The final result should be easy on the eye and be neat - giving an impression of orderliness and organisation, which will go a long way to impress the reader. It is also important to make it readable. Long words may sound fancy but it is essential that the CV is simple and accessible to the reader; a better impression will be made if the reader feels comfortable with what they are reading. Be brief and clear or you could bore the reader. However, do not be too brief: be concise yet informative. Also, make sure that you have spell-checked at least twice, and have excellent use of punctuation and grammar - get a friend to check it reads properly for you and do not just rely on your computer’s spell-checker.

How to Organise your Information
There are two main ways: Chronological (listing your experience by date order) and Functional (your skills and experience). This will be expanded upon later. Information should be displayed in a consistent manner. This means keeping headings, margins, typeface and the justification the same throughout the CV: Do not mix styles.

CV Presentation
Make it interesting to look at - emphasise key information with bullet points, bold text and capitals. However, it is important that this is done strategically and is not making the page look too busy. Do not use any gimmicks! These include using coloured paper, text and photographs (unless requested of course). They do not work and can actually make you look desperate to impress. Your CV should sell itself - no extra work required!
N.T. 7-1-06

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