Learn How to Format a CV and Win the Job You Want
Getting your CV layout right maximises the chances of your application resulting in an interview or even the offer of a job. Recruiters spend just 6 seconds looking at a CV before deciding whether to read further, so a professional looking CV format is almost as important as the information you include.
How do I write a CV for my first job?
A CV for your first job will be skills based rather than concentrating on a non-existent work history:
- Include a section on your educational achievements and how they relate to the job being applied for.
- Think of skills and hobbies that might be relevant to the job.
- Include a strong personal statement that highlights your understanding of the job, the skills you have now, and your potential for the future.
What should you include in a CV?
Although you have to tailor your CV format and content for each individual application, every standard CV must include:
- Contact details.
- A personal statement.
- Employment history.
- Educational achievements.
- Additional skills.
Whether you’re writing your first CV or the latest of many, our CV builder is packed with a range of templates to suit every kind of job and profession. Combine our professional layouts and formats with the tips and advice we offer, as well as CV examples and text, and you’ll find it fast and simple to create a job-winning CV.
Job-Winning UK CV Layouts & Formats
The main aim of any CV layout is to clearly communicate what you have to offer. Choose a CV format that’s designed to showcase relevant information in a concise and professional manner, and that can be scanned by both an ATS and human recruiters.
Research shows that a CV that isn’t tailored for a specific industry will be rejected out of hand by 54% of recruiters. Make sure that doesn’t happen to you by using a CV builder every time. A professional CV format will meet industry expectations, showcase your skills and achievements and focus on the keywords that automated Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) and recruiters will be looking for.
Here are some of our professionally designed UK CV formats:
2019 CV format & layout
A 2019 CV will use a format that’s professionally designed with a specific industry in mind. The fonts and layout will be clear and consistent, and the employment history presented in reverse chronological order. Bullet points, lists and sub headers will make it easy for a recruiter to skim read your CV.
ATS friendly CV formats & layouts
An ATS will be programmed to pick out particular keywords. The CV layout you use will make it easy for those words to be found by spacing the text out consistently, making use of headings and bullet points, and keeping the font simple throughout.
Basic CV layout & format
Although a CV should be tailored to suit the particular job being applied for, the recruiter will expect any basic CV layout to include information. Ensure you include your contact details, a personal statement, an employment history in reverse chronological order, details of your education, and some additional skills.
Best CV layout & format
The best CV format is one that quickly tells a recruiter that you are a serious candidate. It will feature relevant information divided into clear sections, and be presented using a professional layout and a consistent style throughout.
Business CV format
The purpose of a business CV layout is to show that you are a suitable candidate with a professional approach, and the relevant experience or skills. The right format will meet industry standards and showcase your understanding of the position in question.
Clean simple CV formats
The best CV formats are clean, simple formats. Without the distraction of garish design features, multiple fonts or colours, they present your information clearly and succinctly. At first glance, a recruiter should be able to tell that you are a great candidate.
Complete CV in Word format
Word is a popular CV format with recruiters. If you send them a CV in Word format, it will ensure that features such as the layout, headings and the ratio of text to white spaces appear exactly as you want them to.
Cool new CV format & layout
As well as presenting relevant facts, a CV format has to give the recruiter an idea of your personality and what you could bring to the role. A cool new layout will present all of the information needed, but in a way that makes you stand out from the crowd.
Correct CV layout
The correct CV layout is one that meets the expectations of recruiters in your industry. It will present your skills, work history and education in a way which is concise, clear and easily digested.
Curriculum vitae format
A curriculum vitae format should give a professional impression. Many jobseekers use CV templates to help ensure that all the information included is set out clearly, appealing to both ATS and human recruiters.
Effective CV format
An effective CV format is one that makes a recruiter want to learn more. It will do this by being clear and uncluttered, making it easy for recruiters to spot vital keywords during the 6 seconds they will spend reviewing it.
English CV format
An English language CV created using our professional CV builder will meet the standards recruiters in the UK are looking for. It will have a template and layout that make it easy to pick out vital details like your contact information, employment history and a personal statement.
EU CV format & layout
An EU CV format will help you to win jobs in a variety of EU countries. It presents relevant information in a clear and simple layout, making it easier to understand throughout the EU.
Europass CV format in English
The Europass CV makes it easy to apply for jobs in any one of 28 EU countries. A Europass CV format uses standard sections, making it easy to decide what information to include, and where.
Good CV layout & format
Using a good CV layout and format means that you will maximise the impact of the information you include. Key facts, such as work history, additional skills and educational achievements will be set out simply and clearly in a clean, presentable style.
Ideal UK CV format
The ideal UK CV layout will impress recruiters at first glance due to its professional nature. It will also make it simple for recruiters to find the key information they need, thanks to clearly defined sections, headings and lists.
Modern CV format
A modern CV format has a clear and uncluttered look. The text is spaced out correctly, not crowding the page and leaving plenty of white space. The font used is simple and effective. A modern CV layout avoids gimmicks such as colours and images.
Most effective CV layout & format
The most effective CV layout is one that gets past an ATS, grabs recruiters’ attention, and prompts jobseekers to include relevant information in the document. Our CV formats and templates offer all this, plus tips on customising the content.
Perfect CV layout
The key to a perfect CV layout is choosing it with a specific job application in mind. It will reflect the industry or position in question, at the same time as presenting your strongest points in short, impactful way.
Professional CV layout & format
A CV format for a professional position must be crisp, clear, and precise. The relevant details will be set out in clearly marked sections, and the fonts used should be consistent throughout.
Retail job CV format
When you apply for a retail job, the recruiter will expect your CV to include details of retail experience, backed up with dates, facts and figures. The right CV format will set these facts out clearly, making them easy to spot at a glance.
School leavers’ CV layout
A school leavers’ CV format will naturally focus less on work experience, and more on education and relevant skills. The layout will highlight these sections, in addition to the personal statement included at the top of the page.
Simple CV format
A simple CV format will have been professionally designed to focus on the relevant details included, presenting them in a clear, concise manner. It will be 1-2 sides of A4 long, and won’t feature distracting colours, images, or photographs.
Smart CV format
Using a smart CV format will ensure that you instantly make a good impression on the recruiter. The crisp, clear lines and consistent layout will demonstrate your professional approach, at the same time as making it simple for a recruiter to skim read.
Standard CV format 2019
A standard CV format will provide a recruiter with the key information needed for any application, such as your name and contact details, a brief personal statement, your employment history, relevant educational achievements, and relevant skills.
Student CV layout & format
A student CV format will need to focus on additional transferable skills, because you won’t yet have an established employment history. The layout will put more emphasis on these sections of the CV, and on a personal statement used to highlight your ambition and potential.
UK CV layout & format
The layout and format of a UK CV will be designed to include all of the sections needed on 1-2 sides of A4. The use of headings and bullet points will make it easy for a recruiter to find the information they need from a quick skim read.
Unique CV format & layout
Every CV you produce should be unique and tailored specifically for the position in question. As well as presenting relevant information in a clear and concise manner, it should help to capture your personality and the unique skills you can offer to the recruiter.
Word CV format
A Word CV format is the standard format used by recruiters across all industries. This means it will be easy for a recruiter to open and review, and will present in exactly the format you intended.
How to Format Your CV to Ensure a Professional CV Layout
When you first sit down to write your CV it’s only natural to concentrate on the content, but the CV layout and format are every bit as important. A professional CV needs to be neat, tidy and concise. It should also be broken into individual sections and lists if possible, packing the maximum information into the minimum space.
If your CV looks too long, too packed with text, or too inconsistent, a recruiter won’t be able to evaluate it in a few seconds. If a quick skim read doesn’t reassure the recruiter that your CV is professional and well put together, then they won’t even take the time to read about the details that you’ve chosen to showcase.
The following tips will help you to put together a CV that looks appealing and conveys the facts the recruiter will be looking for:
Keep it text based
Don’t be tempted to try a purely visual format, even if you’re applying for a creative position. Working with text and a professional CV layout will maximise the information you can pack in and make it more likely that your CV gets past ATS filters.
Pay attention to length
A recruiter ploughing through dozens of CVs isn’t going to want work their way through a CV layout longer than 2 sides of A4. A professional CV template will help you to include information that’s relevant without trying to pack too much in.
Review CV layout examples
Have a look at examples of CV layouts and formats created by your peers, particularly if they resulted in a successful job application. These will show you what professional CV formats should look like, and how to include the details required.
Keep an eye on fonts and spacing
If your CV looks too long, or not long enough, you might be tempted to shrink the font to fit everything in, or leave larger white spaces to make it look longer. Resist the temptation! It will just make your CV format look unprofessional, which means it’s more likely to be rejected.
Only include relevant information
When you include a section – such as ‘hobbies and skills’ – ask yourself if the details are actually relevant to the position in question. Only include the facts that will help to persuade a recruiter that you’re right for the position.
Think about structure
A clear structure, with carefully defined sections, will make it simple for a recruiter to skim read your CV and pick out the facts that are most relevant. Sub-headers and lists will set the relevant information out in a concise and impactful manner.
Break up the text
Large paragraphs crammed with text will be off-putting to both ATS software and human recruiters. Break up the content of your CV by using lists, short sentences, and bullet points.
Don’t forget to proofread
Check carefully for spelling or grammar. Then look out for inconsistencies like:
- Duplicated punctuation.
- Too much variation in font size.
- Differing page or line breaks.
- Unconventional date formats.
All of these are fairly simple mistakes which, if you make them, will stop your CV format being quick and simple to read and understand.
Expert recruiters are pretty unanimous that you shouldn’t be tempted to include a photograph with your CV. It will interfere with ATS, is almost always irrelevant and, according to research, it will lead to instant rejection 88% of the time.
Check your CV out in print
Make sure you print a hard copy of your CV to see how the CV layout and format look when they’re on paper. The recruiter may do the same, so you should look for any differences between a digital and printed version.
Use a CV template
Using the CV template option in an online CV builder will make the process of creating an effective CV much quicker and simpler. It removes much of the stress from the process, leaving free to concentrate on the creating the content, and preparing for your interview.
Get a second opinion
Ask a friend to look over your CV to see how the format and layout appear to a fresh pair of eyes. They might spot mistakes you’ve missed, or even have suggestions for improving the content.
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The Structure of a Standard UK CV
While every CV should be tailored to suit each individual job application, the standard UK CV has a strong structure Recruiters will expect to see the following sections:
A personal statement
The personal statement is a paragraph at the top of the page. No longer than 200 words, it offers a summary of who you are, what you understand about the position, and what you bring to the role.
It’s your first chance to impress a recruiter, and should also include some of the keywords they will be looking for.
Make sure that the phone number given on your CV is up-to-date. If you use both a mobile and landline, give both numbers to minimise the chance of missing a recruiter calling you.
If you have an ‘amusing’ email address such as ‘BigFatDave@gmail.com’ it’s probably best to create something more professional to use for job applications.
Set out your employment history in reverse chronological order. Only give details of jobs or positions that are relevant to the post being applied for.
Back up any achievements with facts and figures. Don’t just say that you achieved ‘excellent sales figures’ on your last job. Instead, tell the recruiter that you ‘boosted sales in my branch by more than 17%’, for example.
Don’t feel the need to include every qualification you’ve ever achieved, as this will take up too much room and may not be relevant. Include qualifications that are specifically mentioned in the job ad and description, as well as anything else you can directly relate to the particular job.
This is also the section of the CV where you should highlight skills that are mentioned in the job ad. These will be the keywords that an ATS and recruiter are looking for. Don’t have directly relevant work experience? Think about transferable skills.
Increasingly, recruiters will also look for examples of ‘soft skills’ such as teamwork, communication and empathy, and this section of a CV layout is the place to highlight these.
Don’t include references
Including the details of referees at this point may seem unprofessional. It will also run the risk of a recruiter contacting your current employer before you’ve let them know you’re looking for another job. State that references will be available on request, and leave it at that.
How to Lay Out a CV That Wins the Job You’re Seeking
The right CV format will impress recruiters
The content of your CV is obviously vital, but you also need a job-winning CV format and layout to really impress recruiters.
A professional CV builder with a great CV template will create a CV that looks impressive at first glance. It will be easy to skim read, and feature the relevant information set out in a manner that is clear, concise, and specific.
Using our CV builder and CV examples will mean you’re working with a professionally designed CV format from the start of the process. Add in our expert advice, plus examples, CV tips and sample content, you’ll find it fast and simple to create a job-winning CV that gets past an ATS filter, impresses the recruiters, and leads to a job offer.