Presentation of Your CV

Posted April 17th, 2013
Your CV is usually the first impression a potential employer has of you and it is important that you do not spoil your chances before they even get to read the content by making poor presentation choices or minor mistakes that become glaring mistakes to potential employers.
This means taking your time over your CV and ensuring that you have made it the best you can. Sometimes it is beneficial to leave a couple of days in between the time you first write it and your review, so that you come at it with a fresh pair of eyes. What is hugely useful is getting other people to take a look over your CV to see if they spot any errors or omissions as it is likely they will spot things you don’t.
When employers have to read a lot of CV’s, they will find it easy to dismiss those that have basic errors that should have been spotted. Therefore, it is critical you pay attention to some of the most common mistakes made…

Visually Unappealing and/or Difficult to Read

Unless applying for some type of creative role or attempting an ‘Alternative CV’ you should always print your CV on white A4 paper as although you might think decorative paper is eye-catching, it can be a real turn-off for potential employers.
It is also important not to try and include too much information, which can make your CV appear cluttered with long text and no white space. Remember, you want to try and make your CV as easy to read as possible as that helps the recruiter. Bullet points and clear headings are very useful as is an easy to read font that is a reasonable size. Also, don’t be tempted to use lots of different fonts, this is a sure fire way of making a CV look untidy.
Too Long or Too Short
The usual rule of thumb for CV’s is that you should not exceed two A4 pages (one side) and ensure there is plenty of white space on the page. This means being quite strict about what to put in and what to leave out and of course the less relevant information can be discarded if you need more space i.e. jobs you held a long time ago that aren’t relevant to the position you are applying for.
If you are at the beginning of your career, you might find that you don’t have enough information to pad out two pages and you should not be tempted to do so. It’s much better to have a really useful one page CV than a two page CV that has been filled up with irrelevant information.
Always keep the reader in mind and consider how your CV looks to an employer. How would you feel if the CV landed on your desk?
Typing Errors and/or Poor Grammar
Your CV is a chance to demonstrate the best aspects of your skills and abilities and although we all make spelling and grammar mistakes from time to time, you really can’t allow any of these to creep into your CV as potential employers will think that you’ve made no effort or that you don’t care.Although spellcheckers are wonderful tools, they cannot always be relied upon as they cannot differentiate between the word you
meant to write and the one you might have spelled incorrectly such as ‘to’ and ‘too’ or even ‘aloud’ and ‘allowed’. Always ask someone else to read through your CV and preferably someone that is good at spelling and has a good grasp of English.This is a short excerpt from our ‘Writing a CV’ training course materials that trainers can use to run their own training course on CV Writing Skills.

You can find this training course and many other training resources at our website


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