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CV Formatting

Our CV format is crucial to job search success.

If you are struggling to land interviews with your current CV it may not be the CV’s content that’s letting you down.

Sometimes your CV formatting could be making it difficult for recruiters to see your skills and cause irritation in the process, which will result in your CV being overlooked.

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1. Decrease your CV page margins

You have limited space when writing your CV (curriculum vitae) so you need to make the most of it by minimising blank space and filling the pages with compelling content that will persuade employers to contact you – especially at the top of your CV.

The top quarter of your CV is particularly important because it is the first thing a recruiter will see upon opening – it needs to make a big impression to keep them interested.

Quick tip: Read my CV cover letter writing guide to ensure you know how to write a cover letter that will encourage recruiters to open your CV.)

Decreasing you page margins will allow you to fit more content into the top of the page and your CV as a whole.

2. Minimise contact details

Another way I often see candidates wasting space on their CV’s is by writing far too many personal details at the top.  In a similar way to large page margins; lengthy contact details push the content of your CV down the page and hide important content from view when first opening it.

Recruiters don’t need to see your full address and date of birth on your CV – it’s too much detail for the early stages of a job application.

All you need to include is your name, telephone number, email address and rough location – so that recruiters can contact you and have an idea of where you can commute to.  Put these details at the top of your CV in small font size to save as much space as possible.

3. Divide your CV’s sections clearly

To ensure that your CV is easy to navigate and has a professional outlook you should have clearly headed sections throughout.

If recruiters find your CV easy to read then they will like you more – it’s that simple


Most likely you will have at least a profile section at the top followed by employment history and then a section for education/qualifications.  Make sure each section is titled accordingly and that the text for the heading is in bold and a few sizes larger than your paragraph text.

4. Use bullet points in your CV role descriptions

Bullet pointing your role descriptions makes it far easier for people to read your CV and pick out the information they need.

Recruiters and hiring managers are often very busy people so they will be reluctant to wade through big messy paragraphs. Break your roles up into logical one-line bullet points so that your important skills can be easily picked out at speed.

Look at the 2 CV sections below…  They contain exactly the same text but one is an unstructured block of text whilst the other is bullet pointed.  It’s obvious which one is easier to read and extract information from.

5. Ensure your CV page transitions look tidy

A page transition is what happens when one page ends and the next one starts. I see a lot of candidates who have really messy page transitions like this one below which has a really bad effect on your CV formatting. The role title is on the bottom of the first page of the CV but the details of the role do not start until the second page.

It’s not a deal breaker but it looks really untidy and would cause me to doubt the candidate a bit – especially when it’s such a simple thing to fix.

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