Curriculum vitae template presentation and style

Irrespective of style and design, above all the presentation of your CV needs to be high quality and clear and professional and up-to-date.

This means not using poor quality photo-copies. Original prints are best. This applies to letters as well. Photocopies and documents that have obviously been mass-produced imply that the sender is throwing lots of mud at the wall and hoping some will stick. This makes the recipient or interviewer feel like you don’t care much where you end up, and that you don’t have a particular reason for wanting to join their organisation, which is the opposite impression that you need to be making. Poor quality photocopies reflect on your own quality. Scruffy unprofessional documents will be interpreted as a sign that the sender is scruffy and unprofessional. Old CVs that are dated several months ago, or a photocopied letter with a blank space in which the sender writes the date in biro, will suggest that you are not up-to-date nor well-organised, and also that you’ve been looking for a job (obviously without success) for some while.

On the other hand, pristine professional-looking documents on good quality paper stock (100 gsm minimum ideally) will signify that you are professional, and also that you can be trusted to communicate appropriately and professionally when and if you end up working for the organisation concerned. CVs and letters with current dates, that are purpose-written (tailored) for the recipient, will suggest that you are recently available, selective, focused, and also that you have logical reasons for believing that a good fit exists between you and the employer, all of which weighs heavily in your favour against all the mud-chuckers.

So: high quality, clear, professional and up-to-date CVs and letters are vital.

According to research the inclusion of a photograph of yourself is more likely to have a negative effect than a positive one, but I guess that depends on what you look like and also how the reader responds to the way you look, which is not an exact science at all. Until photographs become the expected norm, if ever they do, unless you have a very good reason to include a photo then it’s probably best not to.

If you are asked to include a photograph of yourself, as certain jobs require, then ensure you go about this professionally. Have a decent photograph taken by someone who knows what they are doing. Definitely resist any temptation to use a snap taken at the pub, or a picture of you dressed up as Father Christmas or just about to climb the north face of the Eiger. One in twenty interviewers might respond well to a zany picture, but most will be rather wary: getting shortlisted generally depends on your seeming like a good fit, not looking like you could be an oddball. If you want to convey that you are free-minded or possess great individuality or creative strength, then use the descriptions and evidence in your CV to demonstrate this. No-one relies on a picture.

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