Getting into recruitment 10 years ago, I don’t think I realised just how much of my day would be spent correcting CVs. Luckily I had already served with PwC and Deloitte as an in-house Document Editor for a number of years so was adept at spotting even the most minute errors like superfluous spaces or illogical capitalisation.
So in the interest of helping candidates with some quick fixes you can apply today to their CV (and perhaps selfishly saving myself some time) I’ve put together 5 tips on how to make your CV appear consistent and professional.
1. Font type
Make sure your CV has the same font running throughout. Often I see people switching from Times New Roman to Arial and back. There is no right or wrong answer to which font you should use, though generally Arial, Calibri or Times New Roman prove the most popular and please, never Comic Sans; you don’t want to be that candidate.
2. Font size
Again, ensure that you’re consistent with font size. You may decide to highlight subheadings with a slightly larger font than the text body of the CV but ensure that you are consistent throughout. If one job is written in a smaller font than another, what is this communicating to a prospective employer, that the role was less important or significant? As a general rule, font sizes 10 or 12 are most common.
3. Boxes and borders
The bane of every recruiter trying to format a CV. I understand why people like to use boxes and borders for certain sections of their CV (for example containing skillset or completed courses), however they don’t always translate to different software versions, and if converting a PDF to Word file, all formatting will be lost and send everything out of sync.
4. Language (US or UK)
Perhaps a smaller detail, but to keep it looking professional, be consistent. Switching between “realised” and “realized”, for example, may be seen as a candidate not paying attention to detail (so if you do this, make sure one of your listed skills isn’t “paying attention to detail”).
5. Extra touches to avoid
Depending on industry, in addition to not using borders, it also a good idea to not use different colours, backgrounds or clip art. Italics should also be considered twice before use. Of course, if you’re a visual designer this may not apply, but be sure to format your CV as a PDF and if submitting it to a recruitment agency, ensure they won’t covert it to another format when sending to end clients.
So there you have it, 5 quick fixes you can apply in under 5 minutes.