Professional CV Design

September 11, 2017

When it comes to your CV (curriculum vitae), you need to make sure equal measure goes into the writing and presentation of it.

Your CV is a representation of you. You are asking a recruiter or potential employer to make their judgement based on this one document. So, what first impression do you want to make? If you can’t physically turn up to deliver your CV in person, it is the only thing standing between you and making the shortlist for an interview.

After reading hundreds upon hundreds of CVs, I’ve compiled a list of advice for CV writing and compelling reasons to consider having your CV professionally designed. All in the best interests of fast tracking your CV to the top of the pile.

1. Make the top count.

This is the first place an employer looks, make yours an attention-grabber and personalise it – tell them instantly who you are.

2. Pay attention to format.

Ensure the layout of your CV is balanced, clear, and easy to read, use a clean font and a pop of colour.

Top tip: do not email a Word document. These files are editable and they also highlight spelling and grammatical errors. Go the extra step and convert it to pdf.

3. Promote who you are.

What can you do for the employer, how do your skills match what they need?

Top tip: Don’t send out one CV to 10 different employers. You should tailor every CV to the job you are applying for. You need to emphasise your key skills and catch the employer’s attention with a skill set that is uniquely linked to the job – make their decision easy.

4. Highlight performance.

Pull out a standalone summary of what you have accomplished, but again – tailor the mix for the job.

5. Control your timeline.

Select your most relevant work history, employers don’t need to read about your café job from 10 years ago (unless you are applying for a Barista role). Keep it relevant!

Top tip: title it ‘Work Highlights’ or ‘Relevant Work Experience’ to make it clear it’s not your full work history. There is nothing worse than having gaps in employment history or many short employment stints. Short stints imply either you weren’t good at the job or you have zero perseverance – to remove any doubt from the employer’s mind and reduce the number of questions in your interview, shape your timeline to reflect your best moments.


Biggest CV sin: downloading an online template and/or copying and tweaking someone else’s CV.

This is your story, have fun telling it and be original. Everybody knows you “work well independently but can also work within a team”, it appears on nearly every single CV ever created. Flip the script and tailor it to the type of role you’re applying for, and work out whether it’s primarily a team-based role or independent role. For example, “My strength is in working autonomously, however I would relish the challenge of collaborating in a team environment as… (and then pick something about you that signals you’re a team player)”. You’ve now told them you’re up for it, and also that you’re someone they can rely on to work independently and get the job done – employees like this are comfortable with responsibility and positions higher up the management chain.


So why have your CV professionally designed?

First, forget about the $200-400 cost of getting it done – think instead about the salary you could get. Get over the cost and focus on the investment – you.

A graphic designer can take your words and add true professionalism and personality to your CV. They will;

  • Present a professional, clean image in an easy to read layout
  • Add colour and style
  • Tell a visual story through infographics, icons & imagery, rather than just words
  • Design ‘pop-ups’ and content highlights to make the important parts stand out and get attention

Top tip: if you’re worried about budget, research before you see a designer, this will save time at the design end. Scan the web and pinterest for CV examples that you like and dislike so you can give a really clear brief and direction on the style you are after.


If you want to stand out among hundreds of other applicants, then consider professional CV design, talk to the team at ninetyblack to find out how you can let employers know who you really are.


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