How To Prepare and Format Your CV?

What is a Curriculum Vitae (CV)

A Curriculum Vitae (CV) is a professional document that offers the reader an overview of your Professional and Educational history.

It is your marketing document because its purpose is to sell you to a prospective employer and get an interview. 

 

We have prepared 43 resume-building tips to help you structure and design your CV to get maximum attention from recruiters and hiring managers.

WATCH OUR VIDEO  on the difference between a CV and a Biography.

The ideal length for your CV is 1 page if you have less than 5 years of work experience and  2 (do not let it exceed 3) pages if you have more than 5 years of work experience.

 

It is highly recommended that your CV should not exceed 3 pages. This was the conclusion after extensive research with recruiters and employers from various industries.

Make sure to tailor your CV for each specific job opening or company and include only the information and experience that is relevant to this exact position. Read more about what should the ideal length of your CV be?

What must your CV contain?

A good CV is divided into 2 sections -

  1. CV Header containing Your Name and Contact Details, A professional photo, and your CV Headline.

  2. CV Body containing Core Competencies, Work Experience, Education, Training, and Development with subsections like language, computer skills, etc

There is no "best" CV format, as each recruiter/employer has their own unique preferences - but the general principles and guidelines that most recruiters and employers agree upon have been used when designing a CV.

CV HEADER

Contact details: A phone number and a personal email address are a must. Your professional social media will be very useful. See what your CV header should look like.

CV Headline: Ideally, it will be the same as your current/professional job title if the job description matches the experience and position.

e.g "An enthusiastic Mechanical Engineer having an MBA"

Read more about writing a winning a CV headline

BODY OF THE CV

Professional Summary: highlighting your most important achievements and skills.

Highlight your CV with  Career Synopsis and Core Competencies

Work Experience: list your relevant work experience in reverse chronological order, containing your employer's name, your job title, dates of employment, and job description.

Read more about how you can put your work experience in your CV here

 

Education Qualifications: list your education qualifications, training, and certifications in reverse chronological order, containing your qualification degree, specialization, institution, city/country, and year

Your Achievements: under each position you held, it is really important to mention your achievements rather than simply tasks you worked with.

Skills: include the skills that are relevant for the specific job you are applying for and remember to differentiate the soft skills and hard skills.

 

Extra sections: such as Personal Projects, Conference and Courses, Publications, Volunteer Experience, etc. Include only if they are relevant to the company or job you are applying to.

Follow the Step by Step guide to designing your own CV

Key CV Formatting Points

  1. Keep your resume structure simple.

  2. Work Experience, Qualifications, Certifications & Training, Computer Applications, Personal Details, Languages, Skills, Areas of Expertise, Career Synopsis, Memberships, Projects, Achievements, etc are some very important inclusions in your CV.

  3. Use fonts like Arial, Times New Roman, Helvetica, etc

  4. The font size of "11" or "12" is ideal.

  5. If you are sharing a photo (most employers prefer seeing one), use a professional CV photo. Do not use holiday, work, dining, or party photo.

  6. Work experience should be presented in reverse chronological order (current or last job first)

  7. Do a spell check. Incorrect spellings reflect poorly. Grammarly.com is a free tool to help you.

  8. Subtitles can be made bold or CAPS. I personally prefer it bold and a size 2-3 points larger than the text.

  9. If you have less than 5 years of work experience, a one-page CV is best else a maximum of two pages which tends to be ideal.

  10. Use bullet points. Avoid long write-ups. You may want to keep 5-10 points per job description.

  11. Ensure the correct "keywords" are used in your CV since almost all recruitment agencies and human resource departments use keyword search options when finding suitable candidates.

  12. Consider a digital / video CV (with hyperlinks) along with the original hard copy. Prepare a script and practice using positive body language. Do not exceed 30-45 seconds for a video CV.

WATCH OUR VIDEO on formatting your CV. 

Sample CV Formats

Preparing your CV is not the easiest task. From personal experience, it has taken me about 2-3 months of constant changes and editing to come up with what I felt are the most suitable CV structural formats.

We have tested the same CV in different structures and most times it does not work. Hence it is important that you choose the right format.

We have shared a few CV formats below. It is essential that you follow the above CV guidelines while choosing the most appealing layout. 

CV Format - Sample 1
CV Format - Sample 2
CV Format - Sample 3
CV Format - Sample 4
CV Format - Sample 5
CV Format - Sample 6