Choose the Right CV Layout

What’s CV layout? Simply put, layout covers how the document looks and includes font size and type, colours, paragraph length, line spacing and so forth. Good layout isn’t just visually attractive. It can be the deciding factor in whether you get the job.

Recruiters spend only nine seconds on average looking at each CV.  Get the layout wrong and you’ve destroyed your first impression, along with any chance of getting an interview.

Fonts:

Choose a modern, clean and readable CV font. Stick with simple classics and avoid the most overused fonts. Here’s our top 10:

Best CV Fonts:

  • Calibri
  • Cambria
  • Helvetica
  • Gill Sans (a favourite of the BBC)
  • Verdana
  • Garamond
  • Trebuchet MS
  • Lato
  • Book Antiqua
  • Didot

Once you’ve made your choice then use the right font size. For body text, go for 10 to 12 point font for the best balance between size and clarity. However, it’s better to err on the larger side to maximise readability.

For section headings increase the font size, making it 4 to 6 points bigger than your body text for emphasis. Subtle use of bolding and italics is also a good way to draw attention to important information. But avoid underlining as it looks messy.

Margins:

Set your margins to one inch on all sides. You’re aiming to create a balance between content and white space.

Just as light is defined by shadow, content is defined by white space. It makes your CV more readable and directs the eye to each separate section.

Spacing:

Set your CV spacing to 1.15. This gives a little extra room for that all-important white space but still adheres to standard business format.

Double-space after headings for emphasis.

Alignment:

For the body of your CV our advice is to always left align only, no justification. This is standard formal business layout and reads better.

Length:

When it comes to good CV examples, less is more. Stick to one page if possible. If you have a longer work history, then two pages is fine too. Three pages is only for more senior roles, particularly in management and technically complex industries. And the only time your CV should be longer than three pages is for certain specialised academic and research posts.

File Format:

You need to save your CV in the right format too, so unless the job application says otherwise go for PDF. It’s the best way of preserving your carefully arranged layout.

Filename:

Use the right filename for your CV. It’s one of the first things a recruiter sees so give it the respect it’s due. At all costs avoid “CV.pdf,” your CV file will be impossible to identify and get lost with the thousands of others who made this mistake. Likewise, with initials or complex file names only you. Just use your name as an instant bit of personal branding.

RIGHT
JuliaRuddCV.pdfJulia_Rudd_CV.pdfJulia.Rudd.CV.pdf
WRONG
CV.pdfJRCV.pdfRudd20202001.pdf