CV Writing – The best style/format for your CV

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We all want to be able to write a CV that gets read and results in an interview but just what is the best style/format for your CV?

I have had several clients ask me this question expecting me to issue them with the CV template which is guaranteed to
get results.

The best piece of news I can give you is that there is no best style or format – disappointed? You shouldn’t be!

In fact, as a colleague so succinctly put it, “if you asked 20 career coaches and 20 head hunters to outline the best style of CV, you’d get at least 400 different answers, probably more!”

And so to put this to the test, I did just that and while I didn’t get quite as many as 400 different answers, I certainly didn’t get many that were the same. Here are exerts from a few for you to read:

  • Firstly, I want to know that it’s a resume/CV, so I know what kind of document I’m reading.Secondly, I want there to be a spelling or grammar mistake really early on so I can throw the wretched thing in the bin.Thirdly, I want to know immediately what kind of person is this. One line, right at the top, that spells it out with no bullshit.Fourthly, name and contact details.


  • …Do I see the features/characteristics/skills/knowledge I am looking for? If I have to dig for the info I need – I will pass on the resume.


  • First I want to know what job/position they want and why they want it.


  • The first thing I would look at would be experience and how and if their experience would suit my requirements.


  • I would start with the opening summary… an employer I talked with dives directly into work experience and bypasses the qualifications summary.


  • Career objective with how you can help (based on the job description) the organization’s goals and a list of key achievements. The followed up with relevant experience and education.


  • Brief/ Goal Statement


  • The career profile/opening summary at top


  • I want to read a strong branding title that will explain what the person does and how well he does it.


  • The title of the position they are seeking, followed by keywords/skills, value proposition, career summary.


  • Name and contact details relegated to foot of page! It’s much more important to use the top of the page for a headline stressing achievements related to job position sought.


So where does that leave you when trying to write your CV?

Since there are so many differing views on this, I suggest that instead of stressing about the layout and order that you put things on your CV, your time is better spent concentrating on the actual content.


Firstly, your spelling and grammar must be 100% accurate as the moment a recruiter finds the smallest spelling or grammatical error, the chances are that your CV will end up in the bin!


Secondly, you need to use a font, layout and spacing that are easy on the eye and make good use of white space.

Thirdly, begin your CV with a brief profile, or branding statement. Something that includes a couple of your key skills and accomplishments that immediately highlights the value you will add to the position.

And no matter what you write about yourself on your CV, be sure that you can back it up with hard evidence.

Everyone is different and no matter what style or format you use for your CV, it will never please every recruiter so
stick to what you have control over, the content.

If you would like help to write your CV please feel free to contact me, and I’d be very interested in hearing how you got on if you ever tried putting your name and contact details at the end of your CV as was suggested by one recruiter.


I am a Certified Advanced Resume Writer, Employment Interview Consultant, and Career Coach and it is my aim to help ambitious and motivated people like you become fully empowered to get the job you want.