How to layout a CV | best way to layout a CV

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In this post I’ll be discussing and advising how best to layout a CV. The way in which you layout your CV is important for a number of reasons, 1) layout sets the tone of the CV and the CV flow of information 2) a CV layout facilitates the correct structuring of the CV and 3) laying out your CV correctly reflects well on your abilities, organisation and professionalism, and hence will likely add to and improve the likelihood of you attaining an interview. In this post I’ll discuss some basic CV layout rules along with CV dos and don’ts to help you figure out how to layout a CV. I’ll give my top tips for championing your CV layout and finally I’ll give examples of different, but all equally fantastic curriculum vitae layouts to give you some inspiration when thinking about the best way to layout a CV – your CV.

How to layout a CV – CV LAYOUT RULES

There are a number of essential items for consideration when designing and implementing the layout of your resume, which is why I’ve sectioned this off as ‘CV layout RULES’ – these rules should not be overlooked under any circumstances when designing your CV layout as they contain the absolute bare minimum that an employer will or will not expect to see in a good CV.


Rule 1 – Be consistent with your CV layout


Use sections to identify to the reader exactly what they are about to read ♦ Apply the same formatting to each section within your CV ♦ Space out each piece of information and each section appropriately ♦ Use headers and footers to apply systematic information such as page number or contact details ♦ Apply the same type of language through the CV such as 3rd person | 1st person etc ♦ Double check the formatting consistency before submitting for review ♦ Style the resume layout in the same manner throughout


Mix and match section styles ♦ Vary spacing ♦ Create the layout in numerous ‘sessions’ of CV writing ♦ Vary font size or type in excess ♦ Assume that if you like the layout, it is perfect ♦ Tab using the space bar only – use the tab button! ♦ Layout your CV in movable text boxes


Rule 2 – Mark your CV sections clearly within your CV layout


Use underlining and bolding formatting to identify each section ♦ Use larger text sizes to identify sections ♦ Make good use of bullets and numbering with each CV section ♦ Make good use of template style sections (such as Microsoft Word CV templates) ♦ Space out each section clearly ♦ Format each CV section systematically i.e. in the same manner within each CV section ♦ Get feedback on the CV layout and clarity of CV section transparency i.e. Can other people make out which section is which?


Forget to mark each section ♦ Use varied styles when formatting each CV section ♦ Clutter your CV with poorly or non-spaced text ♦ Forget to use bullets and numbering ♦ Forget to get a second opinion on how well you’ve marked your CV sections ♦ Waste space by listing things vertically – if the items are short in text size, list them horizontally

Rule 3 – Experiment with different CV styles for your CV layout


Use online resources to get inspiration on different CV styles ♦ Take extra time to ensure CV style is applied well to your resume ♦ Ask other peoples opinions on which CV styles and CV layout best suits your CV content ♦ Make multiple versions of your CV content to compare styles ♦ Tweak the CV style that you take inspiration from – you might be able to improve on it! ♦ Have a ‘professional’ CV style and a ‘more formal’ CV style to put your CV layout into and to submit to suitable vacancies


Use over the top CV styles for your CV layout i.e.  silly or ridiculous colouring or formatting ♦ Be too risky with the CV style or CV layout ♦ Apply different styles to different sections within the CV ♦ Be afraid to throw out your old CV style and try something new  for your CV layout and style

Rule 4 – Use headings and sub-heading in your CV


Bold and / or underline your curriculum vitae headings and sub-headings ♦ Use CV headings and CV sub-headings to break down your experience as much as is necessary for the job you’re applying for ♦ Apply the same formatting to CV headings of the same type i.e. all headings are bold and underlined, with all sub-headings just underlined throughout your resume ♦ Layout your CV headings and subheadings in the same alignment ♦ Use headings as the basis for structuring the content of the CV ♦ Write the curriculum vitae headings and sub-headings before your write the subsequent content underneath


Vary the formatting style of the headings in an ‘un-systematic’ manner ♦ Be excessive with the  layout of the CV headings, sub-headings, sub-sub-headings – there should be no reason to break down your experience more than twice ♦ Allow your CV layout to become too spaced out through over-use of CV headings


Best way to layout a CV – CHAMPION YOUR CV

There are a few little extra tips and hints that are advisable if you really want to impress the employer. These are advised in addition to the above rules of creating a good CV and should ensure you get that extra edge over other people in the running for the same positions you apply for.

Be a CV CHAMP tip 1)Type into Google “amazing CV” or “fantastic CV layout” or “good CV layout” and see what the results look like. If your CV layout and CV style compares well, you’re on the right lines!

Be a CV CHAMP tip 2)Ask someone who is in a careers or job selection based job their first impressions and overall opinion on the layout of your CV. If the feedback in positive then you’ve got a good CV design and CV layout!

Be a CV CHAMP tip 3)Don’t be afraid to get help from someone who is more experienced at designing CVs than you are! Howtomakeacv offer a CV layout design service for just £25 – Just make sure that if you do get additional help, that you are heavily involved in the requirement process for describing what you want in your CV design.

Be a CV CHAMP tip 4) Before settling on your CV layout and CV design, take one overall look at your CV and trim up your CV layout as much as possible. Whilst it’s important that every aspect is covered in your CV in way of content, it’s important that the resume layout looks ‘friendly’ enough to warrant reading thoroughly.

Be a CV CHAMP tip 5)More is less! I highly recommend using a smaller overall font size for your CV as it tends to look tidier with most good CV layouts in most good CV styles.


Here are a number of CV examples that are varied but equally fantastic in terms of layout. Hopefully when designing your CV you can take inspiration from these and adapt them to fit your desired CV layout and content.

Creative CV template

Creative CV template

General CV template (sections)

Good general CV template

Web Designer CV template

web designer CV template

General CV template (table use)

CV template for general CV with table use

General CV template (block sections use)

Good CV template example for sections use

General CV template (good use of space and subtle graphic)


Related Posts:

How many pages should your CV be?

Planning your CV


2011: Expert CV Tip of the Week 7

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The How to Make a CV Tip of the Week 7 is:

Use a smaller overall font to make your CV content look tidier

Another simple piece of CV advice this week. I would always advise using a slightly smaller CV font size. Using a smaller font size in your CV employs a number of benefits; 1) You fit more information in a smaller amount of space, thus allowing you to better ‘market’ and ‘sell’ yourself to employers with additional text and CV information, 2) The overall look of your CV will appear tidier, as text will be blocked up and pushed together tighter, 3) Your CV formatting will seem more professional due to efficient use of space, and 4) You can section off your resume in a better structured manner as you will have more CV space available ‘to play with’. It also has the added benefit of allowing you to use the space to incorporate various different designs for your curriculum vitae. Generally speaking, your CV should be 10-12 font size, so in accordance with the advice here I would say that size 10 in most cases will look better and be more suitable for your CV format.

You will always get people that might advise against and disagree with this expert CV tip of the week, and in some cases there are valid points. Negative points for example, include making sure the CV text font size is not too small that the average reader will struggle to make out the words! Plus in some cases people may not read thoroughly the CV text that too small, as they may be put off by the ‘bulkiness’ appearance of the curriculum vitae. With font size, it’s about making an educated judgement and generally speaking the benefits of having a slightly smaller overall text size outweigh the drawbacks as it’s unlikely that you will often find an employer for a job that will penalise you for font being too small.

The final point to make about CV font size when judging the format of your resume, is that you don’t want people to get the impression that you’ve padded out the space by using a LARGER FONT SIZE, because your curriculum vitae is likely to end up in the bin.

Make the most of your CV body / curriculum vitae text-> use the a smaller CV font size!

More Expert CV Tips of the Week

2011: Expert CV Tip of the Week 6

2011: Expert CV Tip of the Week 5 / Month 2

2011: Expert CV Tip of the Week 4

2011: Expert CV Tip of the Week 3

2011: Expert CV Tip of the Week 6

CV profile picture

The How to Make a CV Tip of the Week 6 is:

Justify your curriculum vitae content / CV text

Really simply and easy tip this week. Basically, in the majority of cases, where there are numerous lines of text in your CV body you should be looking to use the ‘justify text’ tool. This puts the text pushed up against both the left and the right margins and creates a more professional overall look about your CV / resume.  The justify button on most programs looks something like this:


This is only a very subtle amendment to your overall CV formatting but in my opinion, and in may other peoples opinion that I’ve discussed this with, justified text makes enough of a difference to the tidiness of a document to make it well worthwhile implementing.

Tidy your CV body / curriculum vitae text-> use the ‘text justification’ tool, fool!

CV Writing Service | CV Review Service

I try to offer as much information about writing a CV within the How to Make a CV website as possible to enable you to write your CV. However I understand that people sometimes just don’t have the time to write a good CV to the standard required. This is why I offer my resume writing expertise to the public through a CV writing service and a CV review service:


Let me write your CV! Just simply send me a copy of the current version of your CV (if you have one), along with a description of what you’d like to The cost of the CV writing service is just £50 / $70 and I accept PayPal payments, cheques and bank transfers. In the majority of cases I can have the CV written within 48 hours of receipt of payment and information.


Let me review your CV! Just simply send me a copy of the current version of your CV, and I’ll make a CV appraisal along with feedback and tailored CV advice to enable you to see just how good your CV really is! Send the review requests to The cost of the CV review service is just £15 / $21 and I accept PayPal payments, cheques and bank transfers. In the majority of cases I can have the CV review returned within 48 hours of receipt of payment and information.

CV Writing Service information

2011: Expert CV Tip of the Week 5 / Month 2

CV profile picture

The How to Make a CV Tip of the Week 5 also happens to be the How to Make a CV Tip of the Month for Feb:

Don’t allow someone else to write the CV version that YOU will submit

There are many CV writing resources available to users on the internet and even via recruitment companies or high street career advisors. Many will charge you for their time, and in some cases the advice will be free. One thing is for certain, if a CV is fully written by someone else on your behalf, it should be tweaked to suit your writing style before you submit it to a job advert. Think about this as a scenario – you turn up to interview having submitted the ‘perfect’ curriculum vitae for the job role! Fantastic! The only problem is that you used a CV writing service and submitted the new CV version that they sent back to you and you don’t know exactly what has been written on your behalf! It’s going to be a messy interview when they speak about items in your CV that you don’t recognise or,  in extreme cases, even know the meaning of particular words written in your CV!

In essence you need to make sure that your personality comes through within the resume that you submit because it will be very clear to the interviewer if this is not the case.

If you have to use a CV writing service -> make sure you check and tweak the resulting CV outcome of your investments by adding your personal touch

Related articles:

2011: Expert CV Tip of the Week 1/Month 1

2011: Expert CV Tip of the Week 2

2011: Expert CV Tip of the Week 3

2011: Expert CV Tip of the Week 4