There are a few schools of thought suggesting you should shy away from an arty or funky design that may distract employers from the content of your CV in favour of a more conservative and clean format. But, you can have both, albeit with a bias to the conservative style.
Employers spend around 20 to 30 seconds scanning your CV so it needs to remain clutter-free and easy to read. The last thing a recruiter wants to do is to go hunting for the information that they are looking for and struggle to find it amongst the array of elaborate graphics.
Therefore, taking the graphics out of the equation, the one element that you have at your disposal is your CV's typography.
The first opportunity you have to be conservatively creative is the way that you display your name. This should be the only time that you can be slightly flamboyant and add flair to your CV. Mistral and Copperplate are two of the preferred fonts that enable your name to stand out amongst the traditional Times New Roman style employed by 99.9 per cent of job applicants.
Try to use clear differentiators for each part of your CV – a simple line breaks the page up neatly and allows the reader to find specific areas quickly and easily.
For each section heading, use bold and contrasting text from the main body text. For example, use Helvetica for the title of the section and use Times New Roman for the subsequent text.
When deciding upon your choice of font, be mindful that some computers may not have the same capabilities as yours and, as such, the text you use may be substituted for a different font that could alter the entire look and feel of the original document.
Keep your CV to a maximum of two pages, anything more than that and it starts to resemble a chapter from War & Peace ; worse still, an employer is likely to throw it away without even looking at it.
And, ensure that the layout of your CV remains constant throughout and avoid trying to cram as much information as possible onto two pages. Employers don't want – nor do they have the time – to strain their eyes reading your details because of a poor choice of text size or font.
Follow a story
Finally, your CV is a working document that has a beginning, middle and an end so it needs to follow a logical structure and keep the same theme throughout. Keep your eye on the detail of your CV. If it is cluttered, the text is too big or small or the appearance is inconsistent, your chance of getting invited to attend an interview and dramatically reduced.
After all, if you can't keep your own house in order, why would an employer trust you with theirs?