The first impression of a CV is the way it looks, this will be acknowledged before a word is read.
Every hiring manager wants to recruit somebody that can do the job, and do it well. Your CV should always have a professional feel. It should stand out only because of the content and your suitability for the job.
Many people include graphics, logo’s, pictures, stylish fonts and different colours on their CV to make it stand out. This does make the CV stand out but for all the wrong reasons.
Here are some basic guidelines:
• Use a common font such as Times New Roman, Calibri or Arial.
• Use the same font through the ENTIRE CV. Do not use multiple fonts.
• Use font size 10-11
• Keep the same size for all information. Do not vary size for more important information.
• Do not try to reduce the size of the font to squeeze more information onto the page – it is always obvious and gives a terrible impression
• Use Bold or Underlining effects very sparingly. Sub-headings, company names are good examples of suitable use of Bold. However when used in the middle of sentences to highlight things, it can give a messy effect and is unnecessary.
Italics are generally used to represent quotes. They should be avoided in CVs.
• It is common for people to change the margins on a page so that they can fit more information on to a page. All CV’s will be formatted by recruitment agencies (had a logo and agency address added) The margins are normally changed back to normal and generally create problems and your CV will almost definitely not look quite right.
• Avoid putting your CV/education/work history into tables. They have the opposite effect to margins and can restrict large areas of space. They are also difficult to update or add/remove data to. You should ensure your CV is freely written to allow for maximum flexibility and visual effect.
If you follow the simple instructions above the CV should look clean and professional, it will be easy for anyone to read and will not give anyone a reason to reject you.
As a great example of a Graduate CV check here: http://bit.ly/gradcv
Barry Cranford is the Managing Director of RecWorks Ltd. An IT recruitment consultancy aimed at spotting and developing technical talent with a focus in Java and Graduate developers.