Talent Acquisition

Top 10 Things That Make Formatting CVs a Nightmare

“Formatting candidate CVs is an absolute joy”… said no one ever.

It can be quite a hideously repetitive, frustrating process that takes way longer than it should, especially when all you really want to do is send your amazing candidate straight over to your client but can’t because the CV is pumped full of weird formatting tricks. For a third party recruitment consultant, all CVs sent to clients generally need to be branded and look the same when they leave the inbox. They need to look high-calibre. No client wants to receive a messy / all-over-the-place shortlist of CVs that all look completely different (unless they are meant to be creative pieces in themselves).

For all those recruiters out there spending hours each week fiddling with your candidates’ CVs to make them look neat and on-brand, you’re not alone and your pain is felt around the world by others. Candidates, if you’re reading this, know that there are definitely things you could do to make your recruiter’s life simpler. A great place to start is by avoiding these 10 things that really do make formatting your CV a nightmare, sorry (not sorry):

1. PDF docs

Unless you’ve got one of those programmes that converts it into word, PDF documents are actually the pits. You can’t make changes. And while you can copy and paste chunks of text, it’s weird and clunky and is anything BUT a seamless process. Weird paragraphing and symbols are pulled through. Honestly, PDF docs are such a headache.

2. Photos & images

No. Just, no. If anything, photos are just annoying, because they must be removed and often the paragraphs are wrapped around them and it’s just irritating, okay?

3. Weird fonts

You couldn’t just pick one? In what world are headings supposed to be in a different font to the body of text? And while we’re at it, you are not from 1901, Lucinda is not appropriate. What are you going to pull next, Webdings? Sheesh.

4. Changing tenses

Pick a style of writing and stick to it. Are you opting for third person or first person? This is no time to sit on the fence. Do you realise how much time it takes to correct these mistakes? Do you?!

5. No chronology

When candidates have ordered their experience according to skill sets and industries, not by time, that is a headache and a half. Matching up dates isn’t fun for anyone. Just tell me where you are now, then work back from there. Simple.

6. Massive gaps

Massive gaps just require back and forward emails and phone calls to get to the bottom of why there are holes in the chronology! Recruiters need to be able to explain gaps to their clients on behalf of the candidate.

7. Landscape orientation

Unfortunately this is not as simple as switching to portrait. Ooh I’ve an idea! How about you just put it in portrait to begin with? Perfect!

8. Split-page paragraphs

Two columns on one page? No thanks. When one puts this kind of formatting into a document, that’s it, it’s basically a write-off – the page will never be the same again. Switching back to one column is horrendous experience.

9. Stubborn hidden formulas

My last point led me here. When CVs are riddled with weird hidden formulas that prevent you from doing simple things like removing line breaks or centring heading, that’s when the real nightmare starts. It’s like a bad dream you can’t get out of!

10. Capslock

Your experience at me!! To all the candidates who use that weird font that is lower-case size text, but upper case letters, please refrain. It’s almost impossible to change.

And there you have it. The top 10 things that make formatting a candidate’s CV an absolute nightmare. Sure, recruiters could ask candidates to do all this for them, but sometimes, candidates can’t action it straight away, and we all know that time is of the essence for recruiters – it has to be done NOW!

Please, thank you and excuse me. Cheers.

By Phoebe Spinks

Account Executive at Link Humans, download our 12 Essentials of Employer Branding eBook now.