How to make your CV ‘good-looking’

Posted by | October 22, 2014 | CVs and cover letters

How to make your CV ‘good-looking’ blog header

Let’s face it. Being good-looking is important. However, I’m not talking about perfect ‘golden ratio’ cheekbones or flawless skin. I’m talking about how important it is for your CV to be “good-looking”.

Why is a good-looking CV important?

Recruiters and employers have limited time to read the pile of applications to find the right candidate.  They are looking for the most important information about you – skills, experience and accomplishments. Having a well laid-out CV helps them get this information faster.

An ugly, badly formatted CV will be off-putting at a single glance – as well as being difficult to read easily. If they can’t find the information they need fast enough, they’ll move onto the next application.

Eye-tracking examinations of recruiters reading a typical CV have shown you have 6 seconds or less to impress. The studies also show that the better the formatting the longer they spend reading it.

So although you may be the best match for the job, your CV could be skipped over because it lacks a professional look.

3 tips to create a good-looking CV

1. White Space

Number one at the top of my list is white space. Now I know you think cramming as much as possible onto your A4 sheet is possibly best. But to me, this is like talking without taking a breath in between sentences.

White space allows your eyes to breath and rest. Our brains like patterns. We naturally seek patterns in our daily life, as this is how the brain filters information to make sense of the world around us. It is easier for our eyes to sort information when it is broken down into nice little processable chunks.

So make sure there is enough space between the paragraphs. Also use nice big left and right margins, to put white space around your text.  This will focus the attention on your information.

2.  Font choice

Using script or ‘fancy fonts’ requires a trained eye and design skills and for most people who try, it just ends up looking bad. Either have a professional designer create your CV or stay with the tried and true basics typefaces.  (Editor: C.J also has a website called with some great looking CV templates you can purchase online!)

An easy formula to looking good is to use a sans serif font for your headings, combined with a serif font for the body text or vice versa.

If you do use the same font style for both headings and body text, perhaps play around with different weights ie Bold or Light versions.

Great font combinations that can never go wrong are:

  • Georgia (serif) and Helvetica (sans serif)
  • Gill Sans (sans serif) and Garamond (serif)
  • Bodoni (serif) and Helvetica (sans serif)
  • Arial (sans serif) and Georgia (serif)

This keeps things visually interesting and looking good!

3. Colours!

Colours can convey your message too. A good rule of thumb to remember is that darker colours like navy blue or forest green could say sophistication and elegance. While hot pink or a sunset orange might convey a vivaciousness and energy. Choose a colour that represents you and remember less is more. Try to keep to using between 1-3 colours.

You could use colour for headings and subheadings. But always keep your body text in black.

The focus should always be on your information and not on the colours or graphics you use. They could detract from your message. However used correctly, it can make your CV stand out and memorable.


Don’t underestimate the power of looking good. Just a little more effort can go a long way and will raise your CV above the fray.

With these tips you can show the recruiters and employers that you have pride in your work and have taken the time to present yourself at your best!

C.J Milburn is the creator and chief blogger at She loves to share her own job search and career experiences in hope that it helps at least one person out there in the world. She’s often asked why she’s smiling without even realising it, indulges in too many cookies and loves to sing with her little niece (not that she’s any good!).



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