Make a Perfect CV: A Step-By-Step CV Guide

What is a CV? 

CV is the abbreviation of “Curriculum Vitae”, which means “the course of life” in Latin. A CV is used under many circumstances, such as applying for academic positions.

In this article, we will focus on how to create the perfect CV for job application. 

What is the purpose of a CV for job application?

To put it simply, a well-written CV is the best way to show your potential employer that you’re the best fit for the job.  

On a CV for job application, it is necessary to list out information about yourself that will help the company learn more about you, such as the history of your employment, relevant skills, and level of education. 

A professional CV for job application is the key factor that decides whether or not you will land that interview. So, how can you show hiring managers that you are qualified and meet all of the requirements? 

In this article, we will guide you through a step-by-step walkthrough on how to create the perfect CV for job application, so that you can land an interview for your dream job with ease! 

The Best CV Layout

- Length & Font 

Before starting a construction project, it is necessary to create a blueprint. The same goes for creating a CV. Before we go into detail on how to create the perfect CV for job application, it is crucial to understand the basic requirements first. 

In a professional CV for job application, it’s important to have a clear CV layout and CV format, so that the hiring manager won’t have a hard time reading through it. 

You might be wondering, what exactly is a CV layout?
What’s the difference between a CV layout and a CV format?
Why is it so important?

💡 A CV layout is basically how your entire CV looks, from font type/size, line spacing, to the colors that you choose.

After putting down all of the necessary information on your CV, the next critical step is to organize and format it properly to leave a lasting impression on your potential employer.

Here are some of the most frequently asked questions regarding how to create a professional CV layout.

🔍 How long should a CV be?

How many pages should a CV be?

The standard length of a CV for job application is one page

Since many applicants are screened in a day, it’s very likely that the hiring manager will only glance at your CV for less than 10 seconds before moving on to the next one. So, it’s important to keep your CV concise and cut straight to the point. 

🔍 What is the best font for CV?

What is the most recommended CV font size and CV font style?

Pick fonts that are easy to read.

Words make up the majority of the CV design, so it’s important to choose a suitable font. There isn’t exactly a best font for CV, but you should definitely pick one that is clear and legible. 

Recommended CV Font Style

For Headings:

  • Aharoni
  • Century Gothic 

For Body Text:

  • Arial
  • Book Antiqua 
  • Calibri
  • Cambri
  • Garamond
  • Georgia
  • Gill Sans 
  • Helvetica 
  • Times New Roman
  • Verdana

Recommended CV Font Size

  • 10 to 12 pt for the body text, depending on how much information you have on your CV. 
  • 14 pt for your headings.

We recommend choosing a slightly different font for your headings, while picking a very clear and legible font for your body text. 

💡 We recommend choosing a slightly different font for your headings, while picking a very clear and legible font for your body text. 

For example, Aharoni is a font that can be used for your headings to add a little flair to your CV. However, it might not be suitable for the body text. So, stick with a plain font for the body text, like Times New Roman.

💡 The CV format you choose is very important as well!

Reverse-chronological CV format is the most commonly used CV format. 

What is a chronological CV?

The reverse-chronological CV format starts by the candidate's most recent job, and backtrack on all the past jobs in order, from present to past.

It can highlight a candidate's employment history and work experience. 

→ Read 8 Outstanding CV Formats to learn more!

How to Make A Good CV
- 5 Simple Steps

Now that you’ve learned about the basic structure of a CV layout and CV format, let’s move onto a step-by-step guide on how to write a professional CV.

CV writing can be easy if you follow these 5 simple steps on writing a CV for job. 

Step I - Keep Your Eye on the Ball.

What kind of person is the hiring company looking for? The first thing you should do before starting on your CV for job is doing a thorough background check on the company and position you are applying for. 

Go through the job description and read through the requirements. Do you match at least 70% of the skills listed in the job description? If you’re looking through a job that requires intermediate coding skills, yet you have no basic understanding of coding, then chances are that you won’t be qualified for the job, even if you’ve written the best CV. 

It’s important to find a job that matches the skills you currently possess. Think back to everything you’ve done in the past and check to see if you have experience that is relevant to this position.

Step II - Customize Your CV Accordingly.

If you’re applying for a marketing position, it’s best to display achievements that are related to marketing. For those of you who want to apply for a job that requires artistic skills, apart from presenting your portfolio to the employer, what can set you apart from other candidates is creating an aesthetically pleasing CV design to showcase your creativity. 

💡 Be aware of your CV layout and customize a professional CV based on the description of your dream job.

If you’re not sure how to start your CV design, there are many free CV templates online, and it might give you more concrete ideas on how to create a professional CV.

Step III - 10 Key Elements of a Successful CV.

On a professional CV, it’s important to include information about yourself that is relevant to the job. Here’s a list of 10 key CV sections.

1. Contact details

Your contact details are the most crucial piece of information on your CV for job.

  • Full name
  • Phone Number 
  • Email Address
  • Home Address (City & District)
  • Other professional accounts (e.g. LinkedIn, CakeResume, Medium, etc.) 

2. CV Title (CV Headline)

A CV should have a professional CV title or CV headline. If you write an eye-catching CV title or CV headline, it is more likely that your CV will stand out among the dozens of others. 

3. Personal Profile (CV Summary)

Under your CV title and contact details, you should write a CV personal profile / CV Summary, which is basically a short statement describing yourself. 

4. Key Skills

What are some skills to put on a CV? It’s important not to stray away from your main goal. You don’t have to list all of the skills you possess, only the skills that are relevant to the position.

5. Work Experience

List the company you worked for, what position you held, dates of employment, and quantifiable achievements that you’ve accomplished during your employment.

  • Company
  • Position
  • Date of employment
  • Quantifiable achievements

6. Education

Write your education in reverse chronological order. Write down the name of the school you went to, your major, and the year of graduation. You can also list the courses you’ve attended if they are relevant to the position you are applying for.

  • Name of School
  • Major
  • Year of Graduation

7. Achievement

Are there any achievements relevant to the position that are worth mentioning? It can be from personal experience, academic achievements, or extracurricular activities.

💡 It’s very important to list any personal achievements if you do not have enough relevant work experience, so that the recruiter can see your full potential. 

8. Publication List 

A publication list is a way of showing your knowledge in a certain field. It is optional and more common among people applying for academic positions. 

9. Hobbies & Interests

Mentioning your hobbies and interests on a CV is actually more important than you think it is. Even though this is a professional CV, it’s good to let the employer know about any hobbies and interests you have if they are relevant to the position. 

10. References

References on a CV are optional. You can save it for the interview stage or send it as a separate reference page when required. 

Further reading:  How to Write a CV - 10 Essential Parts & Writing Tips

Step IV - Keep the Layout Consistent.

As we mentioned earlier, please keep in mind that a professional CV layout should be consistent, whether it’s the color schemes you use, font size/type, line spacing, or anything else you can think of.

Even if you aren’t applying for a job that requires advanced writing ability, it’s important to show the recruiter that you are a detail-oriented person by creating a clean and professional CV design. 

Step V - Double Check.

Now that you’ve completed your professional CV, make sure all of the information and links available on your CV are correct and work properly. 

💡 Remember to send your CV as a PDF file, so that the CV format does not change when it is viewed on different devices. 

Cover Letter for CV Guide
- 5 Key Parts

What is a cover letter for a CV?

You might be wondering, if you already have all of the information on your CV, why do you need to write a CV cover letter? 

What’s the difference between “CV” and “cover letter”?

If CV is an assignment, then a cover letter can be considered as extra credit.

Do you take it or leave it?

If it’s a class you really like, then of course you will try your best for a higher score. That way, the instructor might have a better impression on you.

The same goes for job hunting. If this is a position you really want, then a cover letter is the best way to show your sincere interest in the position.

Now that you understand the difference between “CV” and “cover letter”, let’s start working on your CV cover letter. 

Here are the 5 main paragraphs you should have in your cover letter for CV. 

1. Contact details

Similar to a professional CV, you should provide contact details at the top of your cover letter, so that the employer will know how to contact you if they are interested in meeting with you for an interview.

Write your ...

  • full name
  • email address
  • mobile phone number
  • home address (city & district)

💡 You can also add links to your professional accounts like LinkedIn, CakeResume, or Medium, if the information on it is up to date.

2. Introduction

Do some background research on who the hiring manager is. Search on the company’s official website to see if you can find their name. The key to a good start is greeting the HR properly. 

3. Motivation 

Why are you interested in applying for this job? State your objective clearly. This is your opportunity to voice your knowledge on the company, and how much you look up to the company’s values. 

4. Qualification

This is the key point of the entire CV cover letter. In this paragraph, you should try your best to promote yourself to the employer.

3 Cover Letter Writing Tips:

  • Be sure to mention any skills or experience you have that is relevant to the position.
  • List out quantifiable accomplishments from the past to prove that you can utilize your skills well. 
  • Pick out the best achievements that will make you stand out from other candidates. 

5. Closing

The main purpose of this paragraph is to thank the HR for reading your cover letter. Don’t forget to sign your full name at the end of your cover letter for CV. 

Further reading:  Job-Winning Cover Letter Guide (Free Templates)

Congratulations! You’ve now completed a professional CV for job application and a cover letter. Once you submit your application, be sure to pick up calls and check your email regularly for possible updates. Good luck!


Here’s a recap of what we learned in this article.

CakeResume guided you through a step-by-step walkthrough on how to create a professional CV. We started by discussing the basic structure of a professional CV, which includes a clear CV layout and CV format. Overall, the CV design should be legible, so that your potential employer does not have a hard time reading through it. We also learned how to write a cover letter for CV. 

A well-written CV for job application is very important because they are the key determinants of whether or not you would be called in for an interview.

For job seekers who are creating the first CV with no work experience, it is highly recommended to use online CV makers, such as CakeResume to create your own CV template. Download CV pdf for FREE !

If you are struggling on how to write your first CV, you can visit CakeResume to see examples of CVs from different fields of work. Once you look at a few examples, you will definitely have a better idea on how to make a CV for the first job.

Hopefully this article has been of help to you, whether you have years of work experience or you are creating a CV for the first job! 

--- Originally written by Celine Chien ---

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