How To: Make your CV look good

Good presentation is key to producing a successful CV. In today’s crowded jobs market, making the right impression with your CV can make all the difference between getting an interview and being completely ignored. Given that your potential future employer may well have read through a pretty big pile of applications before even casting an eye over your application, a CV that can be quickly and easily read and summarised will stand at a great advantage over those that can’t. Also, a neat, concise CV and covering letter is bound to create a far more positive impression than a tatty, poorly presented document. While there are no specific rules regarding the presentation of a CV, you can’t go too far wrong if you stick to these guidelines:

• Type up your CV on a computer using a word processing package or on a dedicated word processor. If you don’t have access to a computer at home, many public libraries offer computer use free of charge to their members and printing for a small fee.
• Use good-quality paper that looks nice, feels fairly substantial and doesn’t get tatty easily.
• Don’t go crazy with the formatting unless you’re applying for jobs where creative or artistic skills are required. In many lines of work, eccentricity is not regarded as a desirable asset. Stick with A4 paper in portrait mode, and use mainstream fonts such as Times New Roman, Arial, or Helvetica at size 11 or 12.
• Cut out unnecessary information, such as the dates of short courses or qualifications that have been superseded, to keep your CV concise and easy to read.
• Full pages look good. Don’t have a full page followed by a quarter page – if necessary cut out less important information to bring it down to size, or put in extra information or spacing to bring a nearly full page up to size.
• Use bullet points rather than paragraphs for the majority of your CV. Your personal statement or profile, however, may well benefit from the more conversational tone that paragraphs help to create.
• Summarise the experiences and qualifications that you think are the most relevant to the job in question at the beginning of your CV. Use bold type to draw the eye of the reader towards them, and try to avoid repeating them later in the CV.

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