CV Advice

Looking good: CV tips

Your CV does it look good…

First impressions are crucial to all aspects of job-hunting, and appearance and attention to detail are a critical constituent of such an impression. This doesn’t only refer to your interview attire though, your CV needs to look the part too, so that you can nab that all-important interview.  We run through what you need to check to ensure your CV is looking good, and more importantly, making you look good…

  • Ensure that the font you use is clear and easy to read; never make it any smaller than 10pt but most importantly be certain that you use the same font throughout, as chopping and changing will make it look haphazard and unpolished. A good way to be sure of this is to use the ‘format painter’ tool on your Word document, this allows you to copy formatting across the entirety of the text.
  • Use capitalisation sparingly, and when you do consistently. By this, I mean capitalise the name of your school and referees’ names – and other titles or pronouns – for example and do this throughout. However, subject names need not be capitalised unless they are also a language.
  • If you are using bullet points or line breaks throughout to break up your CV, then – in the same way as with font choice – make sure you use the same style for the entirety of your document. With bullet points, it is especially important to double-check that all indentations remain the same; the formatting of your CV is essential to how appealing it looks and by adopting a consistent style all the way through, it creates a streamlined, professional appearance.
  • Stick to the same tense throughout – this is especially relevant when detailing duties or achievements. For example, one way to approach this consistency is to begin bullet-pointed duties with verbs or action words e.g. “Organised filing systems; Researched for news stories; Carried out administrative duties” – beginning a sentence with an action suggests proactivity in the workplace.
  • Take a look at your CV header or profile section – does it stand out? It may be useful to use a larger or stylised font for the heading (one that remains in-keeping with the document as a whole of course) or your name. If you decide to include the term ‘curriculum vitae’ at the top, then ensure that it is spelt right; there’s nothing worse than the first thing a recruiter sees being a misspelling.
  • Be certain that your personal details are correct: one number wrong on your telephone number or instead of .com on your email address could leave you unreachable to an employer. It’s also crucial to check your referee’s information (if provided), it needs to be up-to-date and correct.
  • Outdated information must be avoided at all costs – whether this involves altering your personal details or giving preference to one area of your CV over another. For example, if you’ve just graduated you may want to draw attention to your degree, whereas if you have been working for three years then this workplace experience may be more important for securing your next job.
  • Read through your CV and highlight anything that’s not essential to your job application – ask yourself “why is this important to a potential employer?” Cutting any unnecessary information will help you streamline your CV both in terms of content and aesthetically. After all, no one will want to spend hours combing through your CV to locate your skills and experience – make it as easy as possible for the person reading.
  • Although this is not directly related to the contents or appearance of your CV itself, this is a good way of ensuring your CV stands out to a potential employer… If you’re submitting your CV online or attaching it in an email, then save your CV document under your name i.e. “Joe Careers – CV”; this means that if your CV is saved onto their system, your name will stand out from the sea of generic “CV” entitled documents.
  • Think about how your CV will look when it is sent to an employer as your document may not be compatible with their version of Microsoft Word for example. One way to get around this may be to export your word document into a PDF file; due to the fact that the majority of operating systems will have a PDF-reader installed. What’s more, this means it becomes uneditable.

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