Your CV should be carefully and clearly laid out – not too cramped but not with large empty spaces either. Use bold and italic typefaces for headings and important information.
How should I present my CV?
- Never back a CV – each page should be on a separate sheet of paper. It’s a good idea to put your name in the footer area so that it appears on each sheet.
- Be concise – a CV is an appetiser and should not give the reader indigestion. Don’t feel that you have to list every exam you have ever taken or every activity you have ever been involved in – consider which are the most relevant and/or impressive.
- Be positive – put yourself over confidently and highlight your strong points.
- Be honest – although a CV does allow you to omit details which you would prefer the employer not to know about, you should never give inaccurate or misleading information.
- The sweet spot of a CV is the area selectors tend to pay most attention to this is typically around the upper middle of the first page, so make sure that this area contains essential information.
- If you are posting your CV, don’t fold it – put it in a full size A4 envelope so that it doesn’t arrive creased.
Other turn-offs include:
- misspelling the name of the company or the addressee,
- not having a reply address on the CV
- trying to be amusing.
- Times New Roman is the standard windows “serif” font. A safe bet – law firms seem to like it! A more interesting serif font might be Georgia.
- Arial is the standard windows “sans” font. Sans fonts don’t have the curly bits on letters. As you can see it’s cleaner and more modern than Times and also looks larger in the same “point” size (the point size is simply how big the letters are on the page.) However, Arial and Times New Roman are so common that they’re a little boring to the eye.
- A more classy choice might be Verdana or Geneva – these are both common sans fonts.
- FONT SIZE is normally 12 points for the normal font with larger sizes for subheadings and headings. or 10 points. My favourite CV font is 10 point Verdana with 12 or 14 points for subheadings.
- 14 points are too big – wastes space and looks crude. and 8 or 9 points too small to be easily readable by everyone, especially in Times New Roman.
- Although many people use 12 points, some research on this suggested that smaller point size CVs were perceived as more intellectual!
Do I need to target my CV? Why?
Targeting your CV
If your CV is to be sent to an individual employer, who has requested applications in this format, you should research the organisation and the position carefully.
If your CV is to be used for speculative applications, it is still important to target it – at the very least, to the general career area in which you want to work. This will enable you to bring out your own relevant experience in this area.
Even if you are using the same CV for a number of employers, you should personalise the covering letter – e.g. by putting in a paragraph on why you want to work for that organisation.