CV Design Tips & Templates to Enhance Your CV

CV design can be crucial for making sure your CV catches the eye of potential employers. Utilise CVHelp's tips and templates to learn how to design your ideal CV.



Table of Contents

  1. CV Layout
  2. Why is CV layout important?
  3. CV layouts you can use
  4. Top 7 CV layout tips
  5. More CV tips and examples
  6. FAQ: CV Layout

CV Layout

Whether you’re just starting out in your career or you’ve been working for years and are looking to take the next step, having an effective CV is essential to your job search process – and making sure it looks the part can be key to getting recruiters’ and employers’ attention.

A well-crafted CV sets the tone for a positive reading experience. From content to look, structure and format, it’s crucial that you consider its design so that it leaves a lasting impression.

Find out more about how you can refine your CV design with top tips from experts and use our CV templates to help make yours stand out.

Why is CV layout important?

It’s important to get your CV design right for a range of reasons. Recruiters evaluate job seekers’ skills and qualifications from their CV, as well as seeing if they’re suitable for the role and organisation they’re applying to. The main focus of your CV should be to make sure it looks the part, so that potential employers notice it, but at the same time, it should also demonstrate all your relevant expertise and experience in an understandable, engaging way.

Your CV design is your chance to make a great first impression – recruiters and hiring managers typically spend less than ten seconds looking over a CV, so making sure yours is easily scannable, visually appealing and in the right format is essential.

CV layouts you can use

These CV templates are a great resource to inspire your own CV design. You can also use them as they are to create yours with the CVHelp CV Builder. Our different designs come in many styles, from classic layouts to modern looks, suitable for various roles and industries.

Top 7 CV layout tips

Utilise these expert tips to create a perfect professional CV:

1. Match your CV design and format.

The three most common formats for CVs are chronological, combination and functional – they each put your info in different orders, so it’s important you choose a design that fits with the approach you’re taking. For example, if you’re using a functional CV, you should select a design which has enough room to display the various skills sections.

2. Think about the job role you’re applying for.

Some roles call for more classic designs, e.g. bank teller or operations manager, while others in creative industries (e.g. social media management or interior design) can afford to be a little more creative with their layout choices.

3. Keep headings clear and straightforward.

You’re welcome to get creative elsewhere on your CV but don’t mix up the headings – make sure they match standard titles such as ‘skills‘, ‘work history’ and ‘professional summary‘ or ‘CV objective’, as this will help ensure ATS (automated applicant tracking systems) can accurately assess CVs for relevance to job openings.

4. Choose the right fonts.

You’ll have the option to choose between serif and sans-serif fonts. A serif font is one that has small, decorative strokes at the end of each letter, like Times New Roman and Georgia, whereas sans serif fonts, like Arial, Helvetica and Calibri, don’t have decorative strokes.

When choosing fonts for your CV, opt for something professional, easy to read, and fits the overall style of your layout. Set the font size to 10 to 12 pt. so that it is easy to read for hiring managers. Finally, always be consistent with the font you use throughout your CV.

5. Give it plenty of space.

Use white space correctly in your CV to keep it readable. Make sure there’s appropriate spacing between sections, use proper margins (at least 1 inch on all sides) across the document, and use short phrases and utilize bullet points rather than long chunks of text. This will allow your overall layout to “breathe.”

6. Get creative with your header.

Your contact information should always be topmost; same goes for making visually appealing but not overly flamboyant colour schemes; you can even opt for reverse type here by darkening contact section color tones whilst lightening text colors; graphic designers often employ this technique when designing printed surfaces too!

Finally, you can include icons in your contact section, such as a telephone icon next to your telephone number, or an email icon, for example. Depending on if it’s applicable and acceptable in your industry, you can even include your social media links with corresponding icons for each social media platform, such as a LinkedIn logo icon.

7. Use a design that looks good over 1-2 pages.

Whilst traditionally CVs are expected to be one page only, those who have substantial career histories might require two pages – whatever you do, make sure both pages appear seamless together in terms of their designs & styles

More CV tips and examples

CVHelp has plenty of other resources and guides for presenting a professional job application.

  • CV Formats: Read our expert guide on the most popular CV formats and find the one that suits you best.
  • CV Examples: CVHelp has over a thousand CV examples for different jobs and industries you can use as a base to create your CV.
  • Simple CV Templates: Simple doesn’t have to be boring. Check out our clean CV designs.
  • Modern CV Templates: Searching for a modern CV design? Look no further! We have the best CV templates for modern jobs.
  • Infographic CVs: Learn all the tips and tricks for creating an eye-catching infographic CV in Adobe Photoshop or InDesign.
  • Minimalist CV Templates: Sometimes less is more and our minimalist CV designs really speak for themselves.
  • The Best CV Templates: We’ve rounded up our favorite CVHelp CV templates so you can choose from the best.
  • How to Write a CV: Once you have nailed the CV design, it’s time to put together the CV contents to land that dream job. Here’s our expert CV writing guide.

FAQ: CV Layout

Q: What is the best design for a CV?

Your CV “look” will depend upon the job you want as well as how you want to present yourself as a professional. For example, a CV for a creative occupation such as graphic designer would benefit from pops of colour and a layout that shows some creativity, while a job for a position such as accountant should feature a professional, organised appearance. But no matter what job you’re applying for, your CV should be easy to read, with each section clearly labelled, and your information provided in short bullet points and phrases. Just use our templates on this page as a guide.

Q: What's the biggest mistake you should avoid when designing and writing a CV?

Some mistakes you should avoid when designing and writing your CV include:

  • Being sloppy and leaving typos or spelling errors in your CV.
  • Using the wrong CV format that doesn’t show off your work experience and skills to best advantage.
  • Using the wrong CV format that doesn’t show off your work experience and skills to best advantage.

Q: What should I leave off my CV?

You shouldn’t include overly personal information on your CV, such as age, marital status, religion, birth country, or if you have children. You should also avoid including information that isn’t relevant to the job you want. For example, you might be a certified scuba diver, but it won’t set you apart from other candidates for a construction manager job.

Q: What is the best CV layout?

The best CV layout for you will depend on the type of CV format you choose. The three CV formats can be defined as:

1. Chronological format: the chronological CV format is the most popular CV format used today and emphasizes a candidate’s work history, career progression and career path. This format is excellent for professionals with ample experience who want to showcase their professional achievements and career growth.

A CV design that is straightforward and uses a single column works best for the chronological CV.

2. Functional format: the functional CV format emphasizes a candidate’s skills and achievements instead of work history. This CV format is typically used by job seekers with limited or no work experience. If a job seeker has limited work experience, they need to use the functional CV format. Using the functional CV format allows you to showcase all your relevant hard skills and soft skills and provide specific examples of how those skills achieved positive professional outcomes.

A two-column CV layout that allows you to include additional CV sections seamlessly is better suited for the functional CV format.

3. Combination/Hybrid format: the combination CV, or hybrid CV, is a CV format that is the best of both CV types. It successfully fuses vital aspects and benefits of the chronological and functional formats and emphasizes a candidate’s experience, skills and accomplishments. This CV format is excellent for career professionals with a lot of work experience. It allows them to showcase their professional achievements, industry-specific skills and the results they achieved because of it.

You can use both single-column and two-column CV designs to create a combination CV, it will depend on how much information you need to include and the type of CV template you prefer.

Q: Should I use a CV template?

Yes! We always recommend using a professional CV template because they’re already pre-formatted correctly and are ATS-friendly. You don’t have to worry about having the right margins, whether the font is professional or if the CV will make it past applicant tracking systems.

Q: What is the best font to use on a CV?

There are different fonts that are great to use on a CV. Our top choices are:

  • Arial
  • Verdana
  • Helvetica
  • Times New Roman
  • Cambria
  • Georgia
  • Calibri
  • Garamond
  • Trebuchet MS
  • Tahoma

Q: How can I improve my CV design?

A great CV design will take into consideration the look, structure and format. While the perfect well-written CV sells your greatest strengths and skills, a solid CV design helps catch the attention of hiring managers and persuades them to continue reading.

Improve your layout by following these basic CV design tips:

  • Make sure it’s formatted correctly with the right spacing and professional font.
  • Ensure that it’s ATS-friendly to make your job-hunting process easier.
  • Use bullet points and concise phrases whenever possible.
  • Follow the norms of your industry and choose a CV design that’s appropriate for your job.
  • Download your CV as a PDF file type. MS Word is acceptable, too.
  • Pair it with a cover letter template that complements your CV look.

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