How to format your CV

There is a lot of advice around on what to include – and not include – in your CV, but not so much advice on how you should format your CV. Here are some tips from CV expert Emma Alkirwi.

CV Tips


How should you best format your CV to include all your skills and experience, without going over the recommended two page limit? Here are some tips:

Contact Details

While is it important to display your contact details so the recruiter can quickly see them, many people fall into the trap of wasting a lot of space here. All you need is to centre or right adjust your name, address (keep this to one line), phone number (just your mobile is fine), and email address. Keep the top margin very small  to allow for more room for the rest of your CV, unless there are reasons to make the space larger (such as spreading your CV evenly over two pages).

Clear Sections

Create clear sections in your CV to include a Professional Profile, Career Summary, Education and an Additional Information section. There does not need to be any other information in your CV. Remember first impressions count so make your CV as easy to read as possible. It is enough to include that references are available upon request, rather than contact details. Ensure you are not repeating information throughout your CV.

Bullet Points

Try to avoid the use of paragraphs, particularly in your Career Summary. This allows the recruiters to quickly see if you match their criteria. Bullet points are easier on the eye and also save space.

Consistent Spacing

Ensure your CV is consistent throughout. The same spacing between each section and each job. This is nicer to look at and shows your attention to detail. If one of your jobs separates over two pages ensure the bullet point is not split over the two pages as this is messy and looks unprofessional and harder to read continuously. Also use the same font type and be consistent about the use of styles and sizes across sections.

Document Type

Ideally, write and send your CV as a Word document. This is the most popular file type in the world and recruiters will definitely be able to open this. Sending your CV as a PDF or in Google Docs runs the risk of issues with compatibility. Recruiters might also extract information from your CV so this also makes it easier for them.

File Name

This should be kept simple so the recruiter can easily save this and recognise it quickly as yours. All that is required here is your name and CV so for example Joe Smith- CV.

I hope this helps you keep your CV to two pages, and assists you in your job search.

Good luck!

*Emma Alkirwi is Managing Director of the CV Guru which is a leading service provider of professionally written CVs, LinkedIn Profiles, cover letters and they also provide specialist consultancy services.  Emma has over 10 years experience in recruitment and employment related services covering a wealth of industries. Having been a professional employment consultant for several years, she has provided professional advice covering everything from professional CV/LinkedIn writing, effective job searching, interview skills and preparation, presentation techniques, and general professional coaching.

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