The Right Way to Format a CV

Your first contact with the recruiter is made through a CV and if you have a good CV, you have the advantage of impressing the recruiter at this first contact. A CV is the most crucial document required for getting a job. A CV can tell a lot about you, not just your professionalism, but also about what type of person you are. For example, if your CV contains typos and mistakes, it will convey the message that you are an unresponsible or lazy person who does not take professional work seriously.

Your CV needs to be immaculate and perfect in order to impress the recruiter and make you seem like the perfect candidate. However, it is not that easy to perfect a CV and it requires great attention, effort, and time. A CV should have 2 things for it to be deemed perfect; all the correct personal and professional information and proper, standard formatting. Although there is no one perfect CV and a perfect CV can differ greatly from field to field, these 2 things are a must-have no matter where you are applying to. Creating a good CV is not just about writing great content that will convince the recruiter that you are the best fit for the job. It is also about designing and formatting the CV the right way because it is what attracts the recruiter to read your CV in the first place. Your CV should follow the following format if you are creating a traditional chronological CV, which is the most accepted and followed format internationally:

1. Naming the Document:

The first thing you should avoid is titling the document as ‘CV or not naming the document at all and it remains as ‘Document 1’ when saving your file. Never do this as it will not only make you look unprofessional but the recruiter will also have trouble retrieving your CV.  Make sure the title of the document is your name as it will identify you and also look professional. Name your CVs like ‘Syed Ali-CV’ or ‘Syed-Ali-CV”

2. Section Headings:

It is so important to have standard section headings that are written in the correct order. A lot of companies use different ATS screening software to scan and rank your CV. According to the professional CV writing services in Pakistan, these software are sometimes unable to extract information if you have made a section some other way instead of following the standard order. It is also important that you name each heading properly, do not name your “Professional Experience” section anything else like “Where I’ve worked before” as ATS will not be able to recognize it. The correct order and headings to follow are:

  • Contact Information
  • Profile Summary
  • Skills
  • Professional Experience
  • Education
  • Others (Awards, Certifications, Honors, Publications, etc.)

3. Fonts:

Font size and styles matter a lot because when a recruiter views your CV for the first time, you do want them to be impressed. You do not want them to look at your CV and be annoyed by how your headings are a size too big or how you have used a comic font. Make sure your CV is typed in 11 or 12 font size max. Keep your section headings 14 or 16 size so that they stand out or you can even make them bold. Avoid using fonts such as Comic Sans as they look informal and choose a font that is not only professional but also clear and easy to read. The best fonts you can use for a CV are Arial, Times New Roman, or Calibri. Ensure all font styles and sizes are consistent throughout the CV.

4. Chronological Order:

List all of your information in reverse chronological order which means starting from the most recent information and then working back from there. This will make the recruiter see your most recent achievements, most recent work experience, and most recent qualifications first. Also, following the chronological format will also make it easy to read and the recruiter will be able to extract all the crucial information just by skimming through the CV for a few seconds. Keep your CV clear, easy to read, and concise by creating bullet points of all your information and then formatting the important words (such as figurative data) in bold.

5. Spacing:

An overcrammed CV does not look good to the eye which makes it difficult to read and comprehend. You need to make sure your CV does not look too congested or too empty. The spacing needs to be balanced and consistent throughout the CV so that it is easy on the eyes. According to professional cv writers in Pakistan, you should avoid leaving top margins as it will waste a lot of space and take the attention off your profile summary. Line spacing should also be consistent for all the sections.

6. Transitions:

Transitions are also an integral part of a good CV that is overlooked by a lot of people. Make sure your transitions are smooth which means that if your CV is exceeding 1 page then make sure that it is not dividing a sentence into two parts. Try to transition between section headings. The transition of the text to the second page will look tidy and clean if you are not continuing a single sentence from one page to the next one. It should also not be such that the company name is on page 1 whereas, your position or role is falling onto page 2. Finish a bullet on one page and start the next bullet from the next page. Your CV will automatically look much cleaner and clearer visually if you keep your transitions smooth.

These are some of the tips that you should follow to create a CV that will impress the recruiter as soon as they lay eyes on it. Remember to take your time while formatting the CV to make sure it comes out perfect and gets the job done.