As a former Managing Director for HR for Europe Middle East and Africa, where we had 34 offices in 21 countries, I was engaged with selection at the top end of our business, Country Managers and so on. Even so I got 4-7 CVs coming to me every day.
Here is how I treated them:
Thing that got my attention:
Crisp clear simple short sentences with action verbs and phrases laid out in an easy to read manner with white space for me to add notes.
Name, telephone number and email at the top, but not in huge font size!
Sans Serif fonts make reading easy: Arial, Century Gothic etc.
Clear structure and accurate, concise details.
Above everything a list of accomplishments that demonstrate real achievement, with measures of success. High performers that can list accomplishments in a succinct and simple way with numbers catch my eye every time. “In 16 months improved sales by 49% in key sectors”.
Professional qualifications and education at the end; max 3 lines including your full and official university and school names, the years that you attended them, the courses that you took and the qualifications (grades) that you obtained. Where relevant you should add a short summary of your level of written and spoken language skills.
Your name should be on the header of every page of your CV. The page number should be shown on the footer. Your CV should ideally be no more than two pages.
Then there should be a factually accurate summary of what you offer to the organisation you seek to join. Max 3 lines.
Next: Career history with summaries of the role and accomplishments
Your career history should be written in reverse chronological order. Potential employers are most interested in what you are currently doing. You need to be able to let the employer envisage the value you can add to their organisation.
Many employers now use checking agencies to verify claims made in CVs. If you claim to have attended University X and to have achieved a 1st Class Degree this is verifiable. Telling lies on a CV will lead to your name being blacklisted; and yes employers do tell each other about these things.
Don’t over-promote yourself. If you are a high performer you will have plenty of data that shows this. Top managers and HR people hate those that over-promise and fail to deliver.