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6 Professional CV Formatting Recommendations

If you have missed our series of CV Tips you can read them in the same sequence as below

  1. How to Write a Winning CV Headline - Read here

  2. Using Career Synopsis and Core Competencies - Read Here

  3. The Influence of Work Experience in Your CV - Read Here

  4. Education is Critical in Your CV - Read Here

  5. Your CV Must Brag about your Training - Read Here

  6. Use of Short Term Jobs in Your CV - Read Here

  7. How Long should my CV be? - Read Here

Professional CV formatting is one of the most important ingredients for creating a professional CV. If your CV is not properly formatted, then you might lose a golden opportunity for a great job.

Use a Simple CV Professional CV Format

The most basic principle of good CV formatting is to keep it SIMPLE. Use basic but modern fonts, like Times New Roman, Helvetica, Arial, or Century Gothic. A font size between 10 and 12 with consistent spacing between words and lines goes down well with its reader. You may use a different font and a 2 font size larger than the rest of our text for your name. Your resume headline/sub-header, and the companies for which you’ve worked must be highlighted, but keep it simple and keep it consistent.


Be thoughtful and careful about the usage of infographics, images, icons, videos (digital CV or link), or presentations (digital CV or link). While these are very effective and grab the reader's attention, you should give good thought to planning its usage. Creative professionals such as graphic designers must use their professional expertise in their CV design. Remember your CV is who you are, professionally and personally. A word of caution, ATS systems struggle to read images, charts, diagrams and colors and getting the data in your CV passed through these robotic systems can be a a nightmare. Use graphs or charts when you personally hand over your CV to the the interviewer.

KEYWORD Utilisation in CV Formatting

Your CV is for the reader and must be designed for the reader. Changing words to better optimize your CV for ATS searches (which is in almost every case) is common and highly recommended.

e.g for a sales CV words like “targets, ”presentations”, ”negotiation”, ”sales”, etc are a must. Similarly for digital marketing, CVs words like “SEO”, ”backlinks”, ”links”, ”content”, ”SEM”, “analytics” are mandatory, since the recruiter will use words most similar to what they are looking for. Use industry/product /service/education-specific words, each, at least a few times.

Highlight Your Contact Information

Your home address is not required, but your city of location, mobile number, email address, social media profiles (if you want to) are essential. E.g LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter handle, etc. These must be in close prominence to your name at the top of the first page at least. You do not want to miss an interview call because HR could not find your mobile number or email.

Other Key Formatting Points

  1. DO NOT center align Any of Your Text (except maybe your Name and contact details on the first page)

  2. Keep Everything the Same FONT and SIZE. Your Name can be a couple of points larger.

  3. You can BOLD, your company name and position.

  4. Use CAPS very sparingly.

  5. Maximize BULLET POINTS. Work experience can be 8-12 bullet points with each point on one line (strongly recommended) or a maximum of 2 lines. Choose your words carefully

  6. Use consistent SPACING between every line, between every job, and between every section.

  7. Use DIGITs when writing numbers.

  8. SPELL CHECK is mandatory. You do not want someone to correct your spellings. I recommend using GRAMMARLY, a free spelling, and grammar tool to help you with every word and every sentence you write.

Get Help From a Professional

It is getting more common to approach professionals to help design and prepare your CV. While most candidates and job seekers have always prepared their own CV, due to a high volume of lack of response, or rejections, the operand mode is shifting towards professional CV writers who deal with hiring managers to prepare your CV.


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