What are the common CV design mistakes?
Most CVs are created by job seekers with a recognised format and layout using Microsoft Word. This is the standard and there is nothing wrong with that, except for the fact that employers have seen so many similar CVs, yours may have problem standing out.
Job seekers are becoming more creative in the design of their CVs, however, striking a balance between layout and information is important and there are certain mistakes that you should avoid when developing your document.
Fonts and sizes
All PCs have the capability of desktop publishing and sometimes you may be tempted to use your imagination and create a CV to really catch the eye of potential employers. Don't.
Designer fonts (Helvetica or Nueva, for example) may look great on your computer, but if your recipient doesn't have these fonts installed on their computer, they may receive a file full of nonsense characters or misaligned spacing.
Times New Roman and Arial are two of the few universal fonts and are really the only two that should be considered.
Avoid using small text sizes. A lot of people think that it looks elegant and refined and allows for more white space. But, the problem is that people cannot read it. Don't use anything smaller than 9 points for san-serifed type and 10 points for serifed type. If you still can't fit all the information onto two A4 pages with these sizes, you've probably got too much on there.
Stick to one size for headings, one for sub-headings and one for the main body of text. Any more than that and you'll give the reader a headache.
Like designer fonts, designer bullet points are not universal on all computers. Avoid five-point stars, arrows or squares that are likely to appear as question marks or numerals on another PC. Opt for the traditional solid black dot.
Don't be artistic
It is important to communicate some aspects of your personality when undergoing your job search, but save this for the interview stage, not the initial CV application stage. Don't be tempted to add decoration, fancy backgrounds or pretty flowers unless you want your CV to look like your 2-year-old niece has attacked it with crayon.
There are certain roles where a more creative CV is required, but you should always provide an alternative plain version so they can read the main points clearly.
Restrict colour usage
You can be creative by slightly enlarging your name at the top of the CV, using a different font or colour to the rest of the text. Be sure to use colour sparingly and restrict it to no more than one colour in addition to black.
If you are requested to post your CV via ‘snail' mail you may be tempted to take a trip to your local stationary supplier and invest in expensive paper with a special ‘linen' or ‘parchment' finish. Avoid at all costs because it could scream of desperation to get noticed.
Instead, save your money and get paper with a plain, smooth finish – it's easier on the eye and retains a professional look.