Once you have determined the ideal structure for your CV, you can give it your own personal touch by adjusting layout features such as page layout (one or two colums), font, font size, whitespace, bullets, bold settings etc. CVs with a clean and crisp look help to make a good first impression.

Userfriendly layout: two column structure

Using columns to systematically arrange the information in your CV, benefits the readability. Put the first hierarchical level of your text structure in the left column, and the next levels and the actual information in the right column. 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?) by using tabels.
  • Use a hierarchic structure (i.e. bulleted lists) within each column.

Traditional layout: one column structure

In a more traditional one column structure, you need to give clear visual cues to help the reader find the information he's looking for.

  • Use font, font size and even bold settings to clearly distinguish between the hierarchical levels of your text structure.
  • Use white space as a structure marker. Put more white space between items with few coherency (e.g. between the end paragraph of a previous part and the title of the next part). Put no or few extra whitespace between items that structurally belong together.
  • Use bold settings to give extra attention to text labels, to guide your reader through your document.
  • Use tables to clearly arrange information of the same kind, such as work experience ar language proficiency.


STAR Structure

Within the column structure it is possible to use the STAR-model to organise your information. 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.