Like many aspects of CV creation, formatting can be complicated, but fortunately there are CV templates for all kinds of profiles and in this guide you will find tips on how to present your CV in the best possible design.
The design of a CV is extremely important and can sometimes be overlooked, which can easily make the difference between different candidates. It may take time to learn how to write a resume, but it is worth investing your time to make sure that you have properly and carefully formatted your resume.
Your CV is your personal representative: it will be in the hands of the recruitment officer who will spend a few seconds reviewing titles, general content and checking for errors before deciding whether to consider or reject your application, which is why it is essential to have a very good CV format that is distinguished by its positive aspects and that highlights your strengths.
If the format of your resume is disorganized and unclear, a potential employer probably has hundreds of other candidates’ resumes to review, so he or she will not waste time trying to understand your approach and you will miss the chance to get an interview.
Don’t fall into this trap and read on for tips on how to format a resume to get the best possible image of your application. Choose an online resume design to avoid stupid mistakes and get a ready-formatted resume.
How to format a CV
To start with the format of your resume, you must first choose a general design that fits your field, your experience and the sector in which you want to work.
Without a good format, a CV is simply a list of achievements, previous jobs, diplomas and additional information without order or structure, which prevents recruiters from understanding it easily and quickly.
While we would like to think that hiring managers spend time reading all our accomplishments, the reality is that the resume itself is like a profile of your professional life and it must stand out visually to attract attention and content comes last. If the appearance of a CV is chaotic or draft, its content will not be read.
The design refers to the general layout of the CV and the colours that are important to take into account in the CV format. You should not use too bright or too many colours on your CV.
However, the general summary format also includes alignment, spacing, margins, font size and type, etc…. Working from a CV template or using a sample CV makes this step much easier because the content simply needs to be modified.
Here are some basic tips on how to format a resume, whether you are a beginner on your resume or need to update your professional profile:
Use titles and subtitles to make essential information easy to find.
Never use an unreadable font.
Instead, use a formal and common font type and size, such as Arial, Calibri or Times New Roman, size 10 or 12, to maintain a professional look.
Use a single line spacing and justify all texts with a left margin.
Use bullets to describe responsibilities and accomplishments in your work experience.
Keep the same typography and use the same style for equivalent elements. For example, if you put the company name in bold, italic or underlined for an employer, all employer names must maintain this style.
These tips will also help your resume stand out and make it easier for software-based candidate tracking systems to read and understand, which is especially important for professional resumes.
It is also important to remember to review the finished CV before sending it to ensure that there are no grammatical or spelling errors, off-centre texts, changes in font size or type, or general errors.
Make sure it is fully optimized by using keywords and adapting the sample CV to your personal needs.
The best resume formats
CVs are not equal because each style has different advantages and disadvantages that can work well for different profiles.
Although you may not think so, it is possible that your current CV may prevent your job search from being successful. That’s why there are different resume formats, so that different candidates can find the right one for their experience and showcase their skills and accomplishments.
To choose your optimal resume format and learn how to make a resume for your ideal job, consult our tips to choose the most appropriate type for your professional and personal character.
You can also take advantage of an online resume creator to bypass the need to learn how to format a resume and use an already established resume layout.
Each candidate will not only have to choose the right CV format for himself but also spend time and effort adapting it to his profile type.
The type of resume refers to the professional profile of each candidate, for example, student resumes or entry-level candidates generally require little work experience in the field of interest but may be able to learn other experiences or skills. This means that they can be adapted to any of the different CV formats.
The way to help you decide which CV format to use is to analyze your individual needs and know which CV layout is convenient for adapting your profile or the position in question.
You can also choose to use an online CV creator to make your life easier by simply answering the introductory questions and completing an online CV template that will guide you through the process and ensure a CV optimized for your profile.
Student CV format
Students who are looking to write a resume for their first job may be more inclined to use a typical resume template or create a traditional chronological resume using projects, internships and courses as part of their experience.
Online CV’s many student CV templates can help them focus on content and waste less time on CV layout. It is also a good way to have a work guide and therefore not to forget anything in your CV.
Beginner CV format
Applicants for entry into the labour market will have a strong interest in using resume formats similar to students, but may want to avoid the less practical mixed resume format.
It may be better to learn how to create a beginner’s CV with a chronological or functional presentation. It will be more suitable for this type of application and easier to adapt according to the position and type of job sought. Here too, an online CV creator will be of great help to facilitate the process and benefit from a tool that accompanies you throughout your writing process and allows you to have a high quality beginner CV.
Professional CV format
Professional job seekers will be very used to using the chronological CV format because it is the preferred style for many employers and is ideal to highlight the trajectory of a stable career. The chronological summary is ideal for the needs of professional CVs of people who have had a progressive career and in the same type of sector of activity.
For those with work experience but looking for a career change, the typical chronological presentation of the resume would not be the ideal format, as it places a strong emphasis on previous experience and how the candidate fits the position. In this case, a good CV structure would be either the functional format or perhaps the mixed CV format to include both the skills acquired in previous roles and more relevant work experience.
If you are unsure about the different types of CVs available, browse through our selection of CV templates to get a better idea of the result or try to create several types of CVs with our online CV creator. It’s easy, quick and convenient to find out which one is right for you.
Types of CVs
Formatting a resume can be complex but fortunately there are many tips on the type of resume format to use to meet your personal needs.
There are three main types of universally accepted resume formats that include different styles of presenting information relevant to your resume, as shown below. Keep in mind that these types of structures are standard CV layouts that can be found in almost all CV templates offered.
Whatever type of resume you prefer, don’t forget that a resume must be adapted to a job offer. It is possible that such an offer may require a chronological CV when such other job offer may require a combined or competency-based CV to better highlight your specific qualities.
Don’t stay stuck on one type of CV and take advantage of our online CV creation tool or our many examples of CVs to test and select the most suitable CVs for each application. It is often by making several attempts or experiments that we find the ideal CV!
The most common of the three types that can be used by anyone is the chronological CV. It is organized by experience in chronological order, starting with the most recent. It is a classic provision to which everyone is accustomed.
This type of CV is easy to read and is not confusing. It will be particularly suitable for people who have a fairly classic and linear career path.
With a different approach, the functional or competency-based resume focuses on the skills and qualities that the candidate possesses, and therefore what makes them the ideal candidate for this position.
Organized by skills or experience and not necessarily in chronological order, it is less traditional even if it is used more and more frequently. It will be perfectly suitable for people who have had chronological breaks in their careers or who have many different skills to highlight.
It is a type of resume to use with a little experience because it requires time to adapt it to each position for which you are a candidate. However, it will be particularly suitable for students with little or no professional experience who will find this type of CV a good way to present their skills.
It is simply a mixture of the two previous types. The mixed or combined CV is also sometimes known as the “hybrid CV”: it uses both the chronological format for professional experience and also highlights the skills and abilities of each applicant.
It is perfect for a career change or for those who have worked in different industries, but who have the relevant professional skills.