How can formatting your CV get you more interviews?

If you are struggling to land a job interview with your current CV it may not be what’s on it letting you down. Sometimes your CV formatting could be making it difficult for recruiters to see your skills resulting in your CV being overlooked. 

1. Decrease your CV page margins

You have limited space when writing your CV, 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 big impression to keep them interested.

Some recruiters will move straight on to the next CV without scrolling down if they don’t see enough of what they want at the top – which is bad news for your application.

cv margin formatting

If you decrease the top page margin then much more of the content becomes visible to the recruiter upon opening your CV, which will give you a much greater chance of making an immediate impact.

Below you can see how to decrease your page margins and how much more content it allows you to squeeze in to the top quarter

cv margin formatting

2. Minimise contact details

Another way candidates often waste 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. ‘Cos, to be honest, they don’t care at all!

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.

The examples below show the difference this CV formatting can make to your it’s effectiveness

cv contact formatting

cv contact formatting

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.


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.

CV section formatting

You may also have sub headings within your CV (for example your job titles will be sub headings under the main heading of your employment section).  Sub headings should be emboldened and can be slightly bigger than your paragraph text but not as big as the main heading text… Like below

cv section formatting

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.

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 affect 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.

cv page formatting

If you have messy looking page transitions in your CV then you can easily fix them by moving roles down the page a little or even playing with the page margins a bit.

6. Always send your CV as a Word Document

There are 3 reasons why you should always save and send your CV in Word Doc format

1. It’s superior
2. It’s compatible

3. It’s editable

7. Name the CV file properly

A CV is a professional document and the file name will be seen when it’s attached to emails, so take a few seconds to name it properly.

If I receive an email application and the CV attached has a messy name like “01978373final draft” or “Dave’s admin CV” then I will instantly get the impression that the candidate is a bit sloppy – not a great start if you want to get shortlisted for roles.

The best way to name your CV is simply use your full name followed by CV.

This is how a recruiter will view your application so the file name matters hugely when it comes to CV formatting

If you’re looking to further your career, then you need not look any further than The Sheffield College. With Apprenticeships, A-Levels, Vocational and University qualifications, and part-time courses for adults all on offer you’d be mad to look anywhere else!



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: