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Tips on the Best CV / Curriculum Vitae Layout to Use

Updated on July 10, 2011

The Right Curriculum Vitae Layout is Vital

Choosing the right curriculum vitae layout is an important decision, and can be the difference between being invited to interview or not.

The best curriculum vitae layout to use will depend on your age and experience; for example if you're a student looking for your first job the cv layout you would use is different to that which you would use if you were a manager with 20 years experience.

A CV is part of the recruitment process. For you it is an opportunity to set out your stall with regard to your skills and experience. For a company it is a chance to sort out which candidates meet the requirements of the job in terms of skill set and experience, and which don't.

The upshot of this is it means companies do not waste their time interviewing unsuitable candidates, and candidates do not waste their time being interviewed for positions they are unsuitable for.

A good CV won't get you the job, but it will get you to the interview and give you a great head start.

Basic CV Principles

When it comes to how to lay out a CV, there are some standards that need to be adhered to, regardless of whether you're applying for your first job or your twenty-first.

Imagine for a moment that you are reviewing the CV's for a job and you have fifty to go through (and these days fifty is a low number). The last thing you'd want to be looking at is a poorly written, badly structured document where you are unable to find the information you want.

You owe it to yourself to make the task of reading your CV as easy an experience as you can for the reviewer - and that means following a few basic rules.

Cv's need to be clear, relevant to the job you're applying for and easy to navigate - which generally means adhering to a respected format, which you can get via a curriculum vitae layout template.

Try to keep your CV to no longer than 2 sides of A4, use a font that is big enough to be read i.e. minimum 10 and ideally 11 or 12. Check for spelling and grammar mistakes, and once you've checked check again - nothing will undermine your stated 'great attention to detail' more than glaring spelling or grammatical errors in the text of your CV.

Is it Okay To Use a Curriculum Vitae Layout Template?

Not only is it okay, if you're not sure how to do a cv layout it is positively encouraged.

A quick search of the Internet will bring up a range of curriculum vitae layout examples and templates for you to use, many of which will identify the career level they are aimed at i.e. curriculum vitae layout for students etc. It's worth looking at various examples so you can see what type of layout you like and find easy to read.

How to Layout a CV

All CV's should start with personal details at the top i.e. name, address, contact number etc.

Following that a Personal Statement is recommended to give a prospective employer a quick overview of who you are i.e. 'An enthusiastic team player looking for a role I can develop my skills', or 'A highly experienced manager looking for further development opportunities'. A good personal statement is a art in itself and not something that will be covered in any detail here, but is easy to research.

What comes next depends on where you are in your career.

If you're just starting out it would be appropriate to list qualifications and any additional skills you have i.e. if you've done any volunteering etc.

If you're well into your career then the results you got in exams 20 years ago matter little, what an employer wants to know is what technical skills and professional qualifications you have.

Experience comes next and the more recent the job the more space it should be allocated on your CV ~ an employer doesn't need half a page on an admin job you did 10 years ago.

Find a good CV layout template and it will have all the sections sorted out for you, all you'll need to do is fill them in.

For more information on how to write your CV check out these CV writing tips.

Your CV is an Investment in Your Future

Don't rush your CV, you don't want to miss out on the opportunity of your dream job because you were hasty and made mistakes.

Do it in draft, revise it, re-write it, leave it for 24 hrs then re-read it, then get someone else to re-read it, and only when you're completely happy with it should you submit it.

If you're not sure use a template or take professional advice, but whatever you do - don't just leave the best job hunting tool you have at your disposal to chance.


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    • cre8tive profile image

      cre8tive 5 years ago from U.K

      Thanks bowlerhat. A good CV is so important as it sets an expectation of the candidate, but it's amazing how many people don't recognise how important it this initial stage is.

    • bowlerhat profile image

      bowlerhat 5 years ago from Birmingham, UK

      It's a great tip: starting your CV quest by looking over some examples online. I work with the unemployed and it's a real eye opener for people to see some samples and get a feel for what the CV should be about before they tackle the task if doing their own!