All the above assumes that you are going to write your CV in MS Word or another similar word-processing program. Some peole would like to make better use of multimedia possibilities, using html code or other file types. Bear in mind, however, that not all employers may have the software to read some multimedia files, and even if they do, they may find such an approach pretentious and unnecessary. A traditional text document is a safer bet.

It has been suggested that some employers may be afraid of Word attachments, believing that these contain viruses. This can of course be true. The sure way to avoid this risk is by sending your CV as an .rtf or .pdf file (both types are safe against viruses) but the technology-shy employer may not know this. Some agencies now suggest you paste your CV into the body of an e-mail. If you do this, bear in mind that you will need to sacrifice a lot of detail and keep things very clear and simple as you will not have any of the advantages of style, format or font at your disposal.

Below are some brief guidelines for using MS Word to write your CV. You can always convert the file into .pdf later and maintain the format and layout.


The thing that marks you out as a real computer illiterate is positioning text with the space bar. OK, so you don't do that. The next really amateur thing is positioning with tab stops. Professionals use styles and tables to lay out information neatly.


MS Word has a sophisticated style facility that you may have used for headings in written assignments. The 'Style…' command in the Tool menu allows you to create and edit styles so that, for example, all your headings look the same, all your title lines look the same, and you can change the appearance of all of them at once. You can even arrange styles so that when you press return at the end of a section heading, you automatically get the style you need for the first line under that heading. Use MS Word Help to get more information on using Styles.


Particularly if you have two columns on the page, a table can be a big help in lining things up. It can also mean that you don't have to go tabbing across the page when you have text on the right and none on the left. Never use visible lines in a table though, as they clutter the page and make it look full.