Layout and Format of a CV


Sarah Peddie

When you are writing your CV for a potential future employer, you will be totally focused on getting all the important information on it to impress the person reading it. However, one thing that many candidates will bypass is thinking about how to layout and format their CV. 

When thinking about the format and layout of a CV - many people will think “why does it even matter?”. As long as you have all the information there then you have complete creative control over what your CV looks like. You have to be able to put all the information on the page that is easy for the employer so they can sport the essential information and to skim read it with ease. 

This is where thinking about layout and formatting comes in as it is a lot more important than you may think. 
Basic CV Layout

Always begin at the top with your contact details including your telephone number, email address, a LinkedIn profile or any URL link that you want to include and show employers. Then follow with a summary of your skills and/or qualifications.

When it comes to education and experience - this will all depend on how much experience in the field you have had. If you do not have any experience because you are new to the workforce then put your education first. With professional experience, dates of employment should be on the right hand side and go from most recent to oldest. 

Don’t be too fancy

Many companies use an online system that searches for keywords - this does not work well with shaded areas and does not recognise certain types of layouts, colours, odd shaped bullet points, column, shaded areas and strange fonts. All these things prevent the scanning programme from doing its job.

Recruiters expect the information on a CV to appear in a standard format in a relatively standard area. 


Whether you use an Apple or Microsoft device to write your CV on - A PDF document is your best friend. Remember to submit your CV as a PDF as it is universal and can be viewed on any software.

Functional CV 

The majority of CV’s will be conducted in a chronological order where your current experience or job will be the most important and will therefore feature at the top. But, for those who have had a long career in the same industry - a functional CV will be the most useful for you.

A functional CV focuses more on showing your experience, knowledge and expertise. It is organised by your individual skills rather than previous job titles. It prevents you from having to write the same thing repeatedly as you can showcase experience.

If you are looking for a new job then register with Odyssey Recruitment today and we could help you find your perfect job!