CV layout: Dos and don’ts

A recruiter may see many CV’s for one job, so they may not linger on each CV for too long. Make it easy for them to catch your key selling points by ensuring your CV is well presented, professional and simple to read.

To help your CV catch the recruiters eye, take a look at the following dos and don’ts of CV layouts:

  1. Do keep it concise:

The recommended average length of a CV is two sides.  If you are a recent school leaver or graduate, or have little to no work experience, then even one A4 side can suffice.

Sticking to this rule can help you keep your own writing concise and relevant. It also provides the employer with enough information about you without taking too much of their time.

  1. Do use headings:

Include headings and subheadings to break up your text. Make them bold or stand out in some way, so they can be easily seen. This helps section your text and makes it easier to read and find information.

For example, if the recruiter wants to ensure you possess the the qualifications they seek, they can easily find this information under the ‘Qualifications’ heading.

  1. Do use bullet points:

Bullet points are similar to headings, they help make sense of larger blocks of text by sectioning them, making your key points more accessible.

  1. Do use spacing

White space on a CV can allow it to look more structured and make it easier to read. So don’t be afraid to add sufficient space between different sections of text.

  1. Do write in a logical order

Start with your most recent or most relevant work experience, qualifications or skills, followed by the rest. This gives your CV a sense of order and allows the reader to understand better what you have written.  

  1. Don’t include irrelevant information

As CV space is already limited, try to include only the most relevant information. Take a look at the job description in detail, here the employer is letting you know what they want to see in your CV. Make sure to include the relevant qualifications, skills and experiences listed there.

  1. Don’t play with font sizing

Write your name at the top of the CV in a font size larger than the rest of the text.

Use the same font size for all headings to help the writing flow well. You should also use a font size that is larger than the rest of the writing to make it stand out. If you need the space, make headings bold or underline them to achieve the same effect.

The rest of the text should be one even size, as playing with the font size too much can make it look disordered and unprofessional.

If you feel you don’t have enough room, cut or summarize text rather than making the font size too small, as this can make it difficult to read. Similarly, don’t make the text too large as this may seem like you are trying to fill empty space.

  1. Don’t experiment with crazy fonts and colours

Unless you want to showcase your work as a graphic designer or an artist through your CV, keep it professional. Fonts like Times New Roman, Arial and Calibri are best.

  1. Don’t include unnecessary references

A recruiter can always ask you for references once an application progresses to the next stage. Unless they specifically ask for a reference, you may not need to include them at all.

  1. Don’t forget your cover letter

A cover letter can be just as important to your application as your CV. It is another way for you to impress the recruiter before meeting them and you can include many of your skills and attributes here. To get some great tips on cover letter writing take a look at some of our other articles.  

A general CV layout includes:

  • Personal information including your name and contact details.
  • Personal profile: this is an opening statement introducing yourself, what you do and your skills and experiences.
  • Include your relevant work experiences.
  • List your qualifications starting with the most recent.
  • Add anything else you feel will help your application. Some examples include: if you hold a full driving license, hobbies and interests or key skills and responsibilities.


Post by Maryam Tashfeen.

Maryam Tashfeen was raised in North East England and is a fourth year medical student at Medical University Pleven, as well as a former student at the University of Bradford. She has previously held work-experience roles in a number of different countries, including England, Bulgaria and Jordan. Currently, alongside her studies she works within the retail sector and volunteers for a number of great charities. Through a combination of her personal journey as a student and her experience in the working world, she can provide you with great insight into all things relating to student life, jobs and careers.