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The Top CV Formatting Pain Points (And How to Overcome Them)

A well-formatted and structured CV is crucial for making a strong first impression on potential employers. However, many job seekers struggle with CV formatting pain points that can make the process of creating a standout CV daunting and frustrating. In this blog post, we will discuss the most common CV formatting issues and offer practical solutions to help you create a polished, professional, and visually appealing CV that will leave a lasting impression on Hiring Managers.

Pain Point 1: Inconsistent Font Styles and Sizes

One of the most common formatting issues in CVs is the use of multiple font styles and sizes, resulting in a cluttered and unprofessional appearance. Inconsistent font usage can be distracting and can cause potential employers to question your attention to detail.

Solution: Stick to one professional-looking font throughout your CV, such as Arial, Helvetica, or Times New Roman. Use a consistent font size for headings (e.g., 14 or 16 points) and body text (e.g., 11 or 12 points). This will ensure a clean, consistent, and easy-to-read document.

Pain Point 2: Poorly Organised Content

Another common issue with CVs is the lack of proper organisation, making it difficult for employers to quickly find the information they need.

Solution: Organise the applicant's CV into clear, logical sections with headings that stand out. Start with the candidate’s personal statement or objective, then work experience, education, skills, and any additional relevant information (such as volunteer work or professional memberships). Use bullet points to list their achievements and responsibilities in each role, making sure to emphasise their most relevant accomplishments for the position applied for. Make sure to personalise the template/structure to the industry they are applying to. If the need for a degree or certain qualifications is a requirement, put it at the top of the CV!

Pain Point 3: Inadequate White Space

Cramming too much information onto a single page can make the CV appear cluttered and overwhelming, making it difficult for your clients to read and digest the content.

Solution: Utilise white space effectively by breaking up large blocks of text with bullet points, subheadings, and lines to separate sections. Adequate white space will make the CV appear more organised, professional, and easy to read.

Pain Point 4: Inappropriate Use of Colour and Graphics

Many potential candidates are tempted to use bright colours and flashy graphics to make their CVs stand out. However, this can often backfire, making the CV appear unprofessional and distracting from your qualifications.

Solution: Keep a candidate’s CV simple and professional by using a limited colour palette and avoiding the use of unnecessary graphics. If you choose to use colour, opt for subtle, muted shades that won't distract from your content. You can use colour for headings or to highlight specific sections of the CV, but avoid using it excessively.

Pain Point 5: Inconsistent Formatting

Inconsistency in formatting, such as varying indentation, line spacing, and bullet point styles, can make a CV appear disorganised and unprofessional.

Solution: Be consistent with your formatting throughout the CV. Set uniform margins, use the same indentation and line spacing throughout, and ensure that your bullet points are consistent in style and size. Double-check the candidate’s CV for consistency before sending it out to potential hiring managers.

Pain Point 6: Spelling and Grammar Errors

Spelling and grammar errors on an applicant’s CV can give the impression that they lack attention to detail and may even suggest poor communication skills.

Solution: Always proofread the CV multiple times before submitting it. Use spell-check tools, but don't rely solely on them. Consider having a colleague or team member review the CV for errors or using a professional proofreading service.

So, here's the deal:

Formatting pain points are a common issue for all, but with attention to detail and a focus on consistency, you can create a polished and professional CV that will boost hiring. By addressing these common pain points, you can ensure that the candidate’s CV is easy to read, well-organised, and showcases their qualifications in the best possible light. Remember, an applicant’s CV is a key step in every hiring process and it’s crucial to make a strong first impression on your clients. So, take the time to “Smart-Up” your CV formatting and present the ideal candidate for the right job.

Christina Varghese

Growth Associate


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