7 Critical CV Design & Format Tips To Help You Create A Powerful CV

A weak and poorly laid out CV is equivalent to wearing a shabby dress for an interview. First impressions count. Does your CV look disorganized and illogical? Or is it easy to navigate and pleasant to look at?

Here are 7 critical design and format fundamentals to help you create an effective CV that will create an impact with recruiters:-

1.    General Lay-out and design

A good design enhances the text. You can use a vertical double column format or a horizontal one, depending on the text. The important thing is that recruiters should not have to hunt for information. When using a double column format do not fill up the side panels with general lists – put meaningful text. 

There are thousands of free CV templates available on the internet. Choose one that accommodates the text well. 

2.    Margins and spacing

Ideally your CV should not be more than 2 pages. One way of increasing the space you have to work with is by reducing the margins. Large margins waste space and don’t look aesthetic. 0.5 inches is suitable. Any more than that is wasteful.

Make sure there is enough white space on your CV. White space is open space between design elements (between a header and a paragraph, or different paragraphs, or line spacing). White Space ensures that the text does not look jammed and crowded – a CV without open spaces is difficult to read.

3.    Bullet points

Recruiters have a short time to go through your CV and will skip long drawn out paragraphs.

Use bullet points instead. Each point shouldn’t be longer than 2 lines. This allows the recruiter to quickly skim through the CV and still be able to identify why you are right for the job.

4.    Font and font size

Use simple fonts. Often older versions of word may not have the fancier fonts and this can lead to problems when opening the file. Times New Roman or Calibri are good – I personally prefer sans serif fonts, they are easier to read.

Font Size : Too small and the recruiter will have trouble reading it. Too large and you’re wasting precious space. A font size of 11 is most appropriate.

Also, multiple fonts and sizes makes your CV look immature. Ensure your text has a uniform font and font size throughout.

5.    Colour

Colour is an advantage – It catches attention and makes a CV stand out briefly. Black and white documents can be bland.

Use only a single colour on your CV. A multi-coloured CV can be distracting and look tacky. Avoid dark colours – Use light and pleasant colours.

Never use a full coloured background. The CV text must always be on a clear white background. 

6.    Bold and Highlights

Ideally everything on your CV is important – and there is no need to use bold to say something is important.

Also, You can’t know exactly what recruiters are looking for and drawing attention to words or phrases that they are not looking for may confuse them and get you rejected for no fault of your own.

Keep the recruiter‘s focus on the headers and your achievements instead of highlighted words. The impact is better that way.

 7.   Organized Sections

Organize your CV into sections. It helps the recruiter find the relevant data in an easy manner. Organize all information under the following headers:

Contact details: At the top quarter of your CV, you must have your contact details. Just your name, phone number, and email. If you need to include more put them towards the end of the CV.

Summary:The first section, right on top of your CV should be your summary. A short snippet of your experience with just 3-4 bullet points that tells the recruiter what your area of expertise is.

Experience: This is the most important aspect of any CV. Recruiters primarily check whether what you have handled will make you suitable for their own requirement. Your current job must be the strongest and should be on the first page. 

Keep it brief – include only the important details on what you have managed. Do not include generic roles which do not set you apart or routine tasks that every employee handles.

There is advice out there on the internet that a functional CV is appropriate and when your job-experience doesn’t match the requirement just list functions that match the requirement. This is a bad approach and will get you rejected. The recruiter wants to see your actual work experience; under no circumstances should you compromise on this.

Achievements: Do not club all your achievements. This will make it difficult for recruiters to figure out which achievement belongs to which job. Each job in your experience must have a corresponding achievement section.

Education:This section should come last. Although, if the job requirement specifies a certain educational qualification you may include it in your summary as well. Keep this section short as there is no need to include your 6th grade results. Separate your school, college, technical trainings under separate headers.

What to exclude: There is no need to include your hobbies or references. It just adds length to your CV without adding value. And the recruiter doesn’t care. ==========================================================A good CV is primarily about highlighting your suitability and personality and making it easier for the recruiter to take a decision. Ensure it is well organized, logical and the text points out to your expertise.

If you want to know the strengths and weaknesses of your CV you can send it to me for a FREE professional evaluation and feedback to my email Id:

Also feel free to follow me on LinkedIn at  for regular CV tips, vacancies, interview tips and advice on how to conduct a successful job search (and let me know so I can follow you back)

Looking for vacancies? Go to our jobs section at  for more

5 Simple Yet Potent Ways To Effectively Show Achievements On Your CV

It is important that you show your achievements effectively – it is what recruiters look for in a CV. This is what brings out your capabilities and makes your real expertise visible. Why you are good at your job is displayed through your achievements.

Here a 5 tips on how to show your achievements effectively on your résumé- 

1) Define your Achievements

What are your achievements? 

Most job-seekers make the mistake of only focusing on their roles and responsibilities. But these cover only your area of knowledge and experience and do not point to why you are good at your job.

Anything that benefited the company, process or client is an achievement. For example – If you did some cost saving, or launched a new product or completed a project on time then it is an achievement.

It is surprising that so many job-seekers omit including achievements saying that they have no achievements. This is a fatal mistake. Never think that the work you did was not special enough to qualify as achievements. You don’t need proof like a recommendation letter or a promotion to show something as an achievement.

2) Quantify your achievements 

Your achievements cannot be your opinion. They have to be factual and clearly show the benefit you have created for the company.

So it is not enough to say I reduced transportation costs by re-negotiating the contract with the vendor. You need to quantify it, e.g. reduced cost by 30% .Or saying I negotiated a deal for setting up a 25 acre warehousing unit is an achievement. Or I improved the component inventory monitoring system resulting in savings of over $90,000!

Also make sure your achievements that were rewarded by the company are explained. For example, ‘Won the award for best salesman of the year’, does not effectively show your achievement, but ‘received award for achieving the highest sales of 1 crore INR in my territory’ shows it. 

# Numbers, facts, figures are needed for expressing your achievements effectively

3) Choose your achievements carefully

What achievements to show is a very important factor. 

When you show achievements relating to your current job make sure it also reflects your level of seniority. For example, if you are a sales executive then saying that I achieved my target of 1 million USD and won a trip to Singapore is good.

But as a Vice President or CEO it may not sound like a great achievement because managerial roles require handling a team of executives or distributors, or resource handling, so the achievement has to reflect an achievement of a corporate goal rather than an individual goal. For example since I joined, I expanded operations to the Far East market resulting in an organizational growth of 40%.

4) Balance the visibility of your achievements on your resume

It is very important that your current job shows achievements, because recruiters are interested in what you are doing now rather than your past. 

What you achieved as a Trainee or as a junior executive is really not that important if you have packed in 10 years experience after that. 

# The current and two prior jobs must reflect achievements

5) Present your Achievements effectively

Your achievements must connect with the company to which they belong. So do not make a combined list. Put your achievements alongside the company to which it belongs.

Use simple, precise English. Use bullet points. 

And remember that achievements generally have to be in the past tense even if you mention that it is a continuing benefit. For example – Set up new offices in 4 countries in a record time of 6 months, is your achievement even though it may have spinoffs of benefits for the company on a continuous basis but it must be stated in the past tense.


Is your resume reflecting your achievements effectively? Does it contain any fatal errors? How can you improve the impact of your CV? To know, send your CV for a FREE professional evaluation and feedback to my email id:

Also feel free to follow me on LinkedIn at  for regular CV tips, vacancies, interview tips and advice on how to conduct a successful job search (and let me know so I can follow you back)

Looking for vacancies? Go to our jobs section at  for more

The Do’s And Don’ts Of Résumé Writing – Tips On How To Write An Interview Winning Résumé

Your CV is the most important document of your career. It must be flawless and must also effectively tell recruiters why you deserve to get hired. Even the smallest omissions or the slightest mistakes will hurt your career progression.

I do a lot of resume evaluations and have seen a pattern of mistakes that job-seekers make. ( you can send your CV too for a free professional evaluation and feedback to ). As a result, I felt the need to create this list of do’s and don’ts of CV writing as an easy reference so that job-seekers can draft a great CV and so that no one gets rejected because of their CV.


1 # do start your CV with a summary of your professional career – 5 bullet points maximum

2 # do list your work experience in reverse chronological order

3 # do tailor your skills and responsibilities based on the job you are applying for – ensure your CV is optimized for the ATS system.

4 # do weave your soft skills into your work experience and achievements.

5 # do list your achievements holistically alongside the job in which you made the achievement.

6 # do quantify your CV – wherever you can, use facts and figures – use digits not words (for example write ‘4 million ‘ not ‘four million’).

7 # do make sure your contact details are clearly listed on top of your CV.

8# do mention which country and city you have worked in/are working in.

9 # do list the industry specific hard skills you possess.

10 # do proofread your CV before sending it out – ask a friend to also proofread for you.

11 # do send your CV as a PDF document – so that the formatting is retained.


1 # don’t use a career objective – it is no longer relevant.

2 # don’t use long paragraphs – one thought should be in one line – use bullet points.

3 # don’t flood your CV with keywords and jargon – it should flow naturally.

4 # don’t include personal information such as religion or marital status. Also don’t include a photo unless specifically asked for.

5 # don’t let your CV go beyond 2 pages.

6 # don’t include hobbies and interests.

7 # don’t use too much colour – use no more than one light color and use black text with a white background.

8 # don’t use tables, graphics, or links – it is distracting.

9 # don’t use an unprofessional sounding email ID.

10 # don’t list routine job functions that every employee would have.

11 # don’t include salary details.

12 # don’t use fancy fonts – use a simple font and a uniform font size.

13 # don’t underline or use bold for anything except headers.

14 # don’t lie or embellish any details –you will get caught.

15 # don’t include the phrase“references on request” – it is understood.

16 # don’t put a declaration as to the true nature of the contents of your CV – it is not a legal document and it is assumed that the contents are true.


Stay clear and concise on what you want to show on your resume. There is so much competition out there, you cannot afford to make mistakes in what you communicate to others through your CV.

For a FREE PROFESSIONAL EVALUATION AND FEEDBACK on the strengths and weaknesses of your CV, mail your CV to and get tips and advice on how you can improve the impact of your CV and boost your job search.

Also feel free to follow me on LinkedIn at for regular CV tips, vacancies, interview tips and advice on how to conduct a successful job search (and let me know so I can follow you back)

Looking for vacancies? Go to our jobs section at for more