Since recruiters cannot afford to spend too much time reading each and every CV, a clear and attractive layout can make a big difference. Out of the multiple possible layouts, we have selected two types: the column structure and the STAR structure.

No matter what layout you finally decide to use however, it should always be logical and consistent.

Logic and consistency

Since consistency and readability go hand in hand in CVs, make sure there is an intuitive logic behind your CV build-up.

Use logical and familiar headings to subdivide you CV and structure the different items hierarchically. If your experience clearly outdoes your training, mention the former first. The same goes for the order within the different sections; if the ad stresses a specific kind of training, you should highlight that too by giving it first position.

Consistency extends to the structure of each item. In a column structure, for example, always answer the following three question words in the same order: when - what - where.

Employment History

From 2004

Junior cargo trade manager, BAA Edinburgh Airport

You can add extra information about your achievements, but the main logical hierarchic structure has to remain intact.

Employment history

From 2004

Junior cargo trade manager, BAA Edinburgh Airport

  • analysed and improved trade with US partners
  • Edinburgh cargo trade representative in BAA meetings
  • co-author of business report 2005
  • currently developing new business plan for pan-Atlantic trade


Column structure

Using columns to systematically arrange the information in your CV, benefits the readability. This structure enables readers to find the information they need right away.

  • Separate the columns horizontally using clear headings (i.e. "Experience", "Education and Training")
  • Systematically arrange the information within each column (i.e. name of the employer, date, function).
  • Use a hierarchic structure (i.e. bulleted lists) within each column.

The examples above use a column structure.

STAR Structure

Another possible structure is the STAR-model. STAR stands for:

  • Situation (describe the situation or context)
  • Task (what were your tasks in that context? What was expected of you?)
  • Action (Which actions did you take?)
  • Result (What were the results of these actions?)

The main advantage of the STAR model is the possibility to match experience or training with skills and accomplishments.

No matter what structure you decide to use in your CV however, it is important to use one and the same system throughout the document. Be consistent.