How to layout your CV

It strikes me there are just about as many ways to format a CV as there are hiring managers in the universe and this in itself creates a problem when you are trying to decide on what layout will work best for you.

The way my consultants represent their candidates is very much dependant on the sector they work in. Some sectors are very skills driven – notably finance and IT, some are very results driven such as sales and for the marketers, communication is everything.

The key to securing an interview is being relevant to the job you are applying for but we also need to make sure that hiring managers can see the wood from the trees and are able to easily identify that you are a worthwhile consideration for the job. Here are my thoughts;

Length – two or three pages is enough for even the most enquiring minds. If you have been around the block a few times then group your experience together and focus on the most recent and most relevant. Focus on what you want to talk about in your interview and the elements that show you in the best light. Remember to use sufficient spacing, with clear headings and don’t be afraid of white space! 

Order – Organise your CV in reverse chronological order with the most recent job first.  If you are in a sector such as IT, your skills will be very important, so make reference to them in your skills section. If you are a recent graduate and have a relevant degree, your education needs to feature on page 1. If you have limited work experience, perhaps lead with your education. Otherwise just keep the dateline and make sure it all stacks up.

Concise – Less is more, plenty of space, make it easy to read, bullet point the key elements which speak to what the job description asked for. If you did it and it isn’t relevant, resist the need to share.

Relevance – ask yourself before writing anything, will this help me get this job? If the answer is no, don’t take up precious space with something that won’t help. Play to your strengths, and just check it always has something to do with the role.

Choose a professional font – A professional font ensures that your CV can be easily read and simply scanned. Comic Sans is not ideal!

Use bullet points – They’re a great way to draw attention to any key facts or relevant information, allowing a hiring manager to skim the document easily and find your significant achievements without having to wade through all the details.

What does your employer do?  – Don’t assume that the person who is reading your CV will know the business you are working for. Your current or past employers are likely to be of interest to potential hiring managers, so it is important to add a brief description that explains the company you work for. I would recommend placing a short paragraph of 2 to 3 lines above your responsibilities in the employment history section of your CV.

Contact details – keep your email address professional, it still surprises me how many inappropriate email addresses we see. Some people still enjoy talking on the phone, so include your number and let them speak to you directly.

There is no need to list your full postal address as any correspondence will come to you via email. However, I would mention your postal town as your location can be important to hiring managers, especially if you live locally to the recruiting business.

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Take a look at some of our recent thoughts on writing a personal profile, how to write up skills & achievements and what makes a killer CV

I hope we are providing you with a library of information – our consultants will always help you craft your CV but remember it is an expression of your personality, not theirs and must remain something you are proud to carry when you get that call for an interview. Good luck!

About The Author 

Paul Blower has worked in the recruitment sector for nearly 20 years and is currently a founding Director at www.gbsolutions.co.uk  Paul Blower is a Director at GB Solutions, a recruitment agency in Gloucestershire. Paul stands in front of a tree smiling wearing a blue suit

Paul has dedicated his time to growing the agency over the last 18 years and has experienced all areas of office recruitment. The agency now has five divisions and supported many of the UK’s leading organisations. Away from GB Solutions, Paul supports businesses, people and charities to help them develop their own recruitment strategies Connect with Paul Blower on LinkedIn.