CV Headings: the good, the bad and the ugly! - CV Plaza

CV Headings: the good, the bad and the ugly!

Your CV’s heading is the first thing that prospective employers will see when they look at your CV. The CV heading is your first impression; it is vital that you present the header in the best format possible.

This article will examine the various things that applicants write as headings of their CVs.

Some are good, others are bad and the final group are just downright…. ugly.

The ugly CV heading: Curriculum Vitae (or CV)

Preview of using curriculum vitae as a CV heading

Do not start your CV with any of the following headings:

  • CURRICULUM VITAE
  • Curriculum Vitae
  • Curriculum (we’re still dumbfounded about this one)
  • CV

Apart from clearly insulting the intelligence of the prospective employer – what else, on earth, can it be?! – it also makes the life of the prospective employer much more difficult when he tries to locate your CV in the pile of other CVs.

The bad CV heading: Confidential

Confidential as a CV header

‘Confidential’ as a heading is also not a good idea because a CV by its very nature will contain some sensitive or personal information. Ask yourself:

‘Is my CV too confidential to be read by prospective employers or their secretaries?’

Besides, employers do not have a habit of – or the time for! – passing around your CV to others without it being part of the recruitment and candidate selection process.

The good CV heading: Your name

Consider below the CV header of Carlos Norris (erm no, he is NOT related to the legendary Chuck Norris)…

Good example of how to write a CV heading

Carlos has made excellent use of his CV heading by using this valuable space to write his first and surname in:

  • Font-size: 20 points
  • Boldface (also referred to as emphasised)
  • Centred on the page.

Top 3 CV heading tips

Tip #1: Do not CAPITALIZE your CV heading as it gives the impression that you’re shouting which is off-putting and it is also more difficult to read.

Tip #2: Use your name that you are known by rather than your full legal name.

For example, if you’re known as Ruby Philips it can be quite confusing for others if your CV is entitled: Karla Ruby Sarah Phillips!

Believe it or not; people DO actually put their full name on their CVs as it appears on their birth certificates!

Tip #3: Do not use nicknames – e.g. Dave instead of David – it makes you look less professional in the later stages of the application process.

Main points of this article

  • Do not use ‘CV’, ‘Curriculum Vitae’ or ‘Confidential’ as a heading
  • Write your name in bold
  • Size: 20 points
  • Centred on the page
  • Should not be in capitals
  • Do not write your full birth certificate name
  • Do not use nicknames on your CV