How should I format my CV? Our tips on best CV formats for 2019
We recently came across an article in The Wall Street Journal entitled “Résumés Are Starting to Look Like Instagram—and Sometimes Even Tinder.”
It left us a bit, well, flabbergasted!
We often get questions from our clients about the best CV format to use and wanted to share our insights on the topic.
Your CV is a professional document, and as such, we always recommend a modern yet conservative CV format.
From our experience and discussions with recruiters, CVs that incorporate photos, graphics, logos and colours do attract attention - but not in a good way.
Based on the (predominantly negative) reactions that we’ve seen from recruiters with regard to graphic CVs, we strongly recommend playing it safe.
By using standard CV formatting, you’re able to achieve the following outcomes:
Demonstrate your professionalism
Your number one priority when applying for a job is to be taken seriously, and your CV is typically your first (and potentially last) impression. Keep it classy.
Allow your experience to speak for itself
You don't need to use gimmicks to stand out. Instead, leverage impactful design elements and powerful phrasing that highlights your main accomplishments and the value you bring to an organisation.
Optimise your CV for ATS screenings
Many applicant tracking systems cannot accurately read information from CVs with symbols, logos, tables or multiple columns. They only pull text, so your effort spent making your CV look pretty will likely go to waste anyway.
Avoid negative reactions from recruiters
If an element of your CV even has the potential to make someone cringe or roll their eyes, it's best to avoid it.
Leverage the minimal space you have available most effectively
Trying to impress recruiters with "cool" designs wastes time that you could use to further refine your content. Design elements also often take up excessive space that could otherwise be used to convey additional skills and accomplishments.
Eliminate any potential bias
As The Wall Street Journal says, "The flashy [CVs] are colliding with efforts by employers to strip down CVs to their most basic elements—coding skills, college degrees, work histories—to reduce bias in hiring."
While we acknowledge that graphic CVs are becoming more common and some candidates (such as those quoted in the article) have had success using them, we believe it’s too risky a move.
Maybe they’ll become an accepted practice in the recruitment industry moving forward - and rest assured that we’re always monitoring the latest trends - but for now, keep it simple.
Land the interview first
At this point, you can showcase your personality and likeability during the interview but don’t attempt to do so using bitmojis and hearts on your CV.
You don’t want your CV to be overlooked.
As Katie Burke, Chief People Officer of HubSpot, put it, “Photos belong on your personal social media accounts and online dating profiles, not your [CV].”
“What you look like has zero impact on what you can do in a role, so photos, bitmojis and other gimmicks often detract from someone’s candidacy versus adding to it.”
When push comes to shove, you’re being hired based on your ability to do the job - not on your ability to put together a cute, Instagramable CV.