CV Icons: How to Use Them to Enhance Your CV

CV Icons: How to Use Them to Enhance Your CV

applicants and catch the eye of the reader. A well-designed, well-structured layout can help make your CV more readable, and enhance your chances of success. In this article, we look at the role icons and logos can play in improving the appearance of your CV. You’ll find tips on icons to include, and advice for incorporating them into your CV design.

What are CV icons?

CV icons are graphics or images that you add to your CV to enhance its design. The most common use of icons is to signify and highlight different sections of the CV, or to replace text. You could use icons instead of, or alongside, section headings. You can use them to represent fields in your CV such as website URLs and social media profiles, and you could even use icons or graphics to represent your interests, hobbies or skills.

With the job market becoming ever-more competitive, candidates are finding ways to make their CVs stand out. The use of icons can help to break up what can be a dry, text-heavy document, and make it more engaging for the reader. Icons can also reflect and enhance the visual style of the document, complementing other design elements such as colour accents and headings in different fonts.

Benefits and drawbacks of icons

There are various benefits to including icons in your CV, as well as some drawbacks or risks you should be aware of. Take a look at the lists of the pros and cons below:

Benefits of CV icons

The main benefits of adding icons to your CV are:

  • Helps your CV to stand out: adding icons or logos as part of a wider CV design can help make your document stand out. CVs are, by necessity, text-heavy documents. Icons can differentiate your CV from others, and catch the eye of hiring managers.
  • Makes your CV more readable and engaging: adding subtle design elements to your CV can actually make it easier to read. Anything that breaks up long sections of text can make your CV a more pleasant document to browse or study in-depth. 
  • Helps organise the sections of your CV: icons act as visual signposts and cues to the sections of your CV, making it easier for the reader to navigate the document.
  • Adds to the visual style of your document: as long as you select icons with consistent styling, sizing and colour, they should enhance the visual style of your document and complement other design elements.
  • Saves space: in some cases, icons can replace text in your document, helping to save space that you could use for something else, or to simply create more white space around the layout, which can make your CV appear more attractive.

Drawbacks of CV icons

Take a look at some of the drawbacks of using icons in your CV below:

  • Not always appropriate: depending on the job you’re applying for, it might not always be appropriate to add icons to your CV. Some industry sectors and employers are likely to favour a simple, traditional design and layout, without any additional icons or design elements.
  • Can be confusing if executed poorly: if you choose icons that are too abstract or that don’t adequately reflect what they’re supposed to portray, their inclusion could lead to confusion for the reader.
  • May distract the reader: similar to the point above, poorly executed icons can distract the reader from the written content of the document. If your icons are inconsistent in size, design, colour or placement, they can make your CV look messy and incoherent.

Expert tip:

Select your icons from a single set or icon pack to ensure consistent styling. Simple, single-colour icons work best for a formal document such as a CV. Make sure your icons complement the other design features of your CV, such as the fonts you’ve chosen for your headings and body text, as well as the colours you’re using throughout your document.

Kinds of icons to include

Here’s a rundown of the types of icons you could use in your CV:

  • Contact information: Adding icons to your header can make this section more visually appealing. Using icons for your phone number, email and address, for example, breaks up the information in this section and can even help you to include it all on a single line, saving valuable space for other sections.
  • Website or social logos: also in your header and personal information, you can use icons to signify websites or social media logos. It’s easy to access logos for most social media sites, so you can just add your handle or username and not the full website URL.
  • Section headings: icons can sit alongside, or potentially even replace, your section headings. This can break up the text in your document and make each section easier to digest.
  • Skills icons: if you’re not careful, your CV can become a succession of dry bullet lists. Adding icons alongside your skills can break the monotony of the layout. You can even use icons to highlight additional skills and optional sections, such as languages, certifications and hobbies.
  • Company logos: adding company logos can be an effective design decision, as long as the logos are consistent in size and colour, and don’t distract the reader from the written content.
"The use of icons can help to break up what can be a dry, text-heavy document, and make it more engaging for the reader."

Design considerations

When adding icons to your CV, there are several design considerations to account for. Take a look at the tips below to make sure your icons enhance your CV and don’t detract from it:

Choose a consistent visual design language

Firstly, it’s critical that your icons match the visual design language of the rest of the document, so they don’t look out of place or distract the reader. This means choosing icons that fit the colour palette and overall look and feel of the document. For example, you’ll want to choose icons that complement your chosen fonts. Clean, modern icons might look awkward alongside a traditional font such as Times New Roman.

Consider the colour of your icons

Another design consideration is the colour of your icons. While some icon sets feature designs with multiple colours on display, this could make your CV a little crowded and confused, so it’s probably best to select icon sets with simple designs and monochrome colours. Make sure you use dark or black icons on a white or light background, and if sections of your CV has darker coloured backgrounds, use white versions of the icons.

Be consistent with placement and sizing

The placement and sizing of your icons should also be consistent throughout the document, to maintain a sense of visual hierarchy and guide the eye of the reader. This means making sure your icons are the same size, aligned, and that you always place them in similar positions, such as either before or after the text they represent. Keeping your icons in a strict order, with rules about their usage and placement, can make your CV look more professional.

Use png or vector files

The file types you use make a big difference to the overall quality of your CV design. Avoid using jpeg files, as these tend to be the lowest quality files and they’re difficult to manipulate in word-processing or graphic design software. Jpeg files also tend to have a white border around them, making them unsuitable for use on coloured backgrounds. Instead, use png or vector files. These are far easier to manipulate when designing your documents, and they can have irregular shapes and/or transparent backgrounds, making them ideal for use on coloured backgrounds.

Use an online CV maker

Online CV design tools can help you incorporate icons and other design elements into your CV, without requiring any graphic design skills or knowledge. With CVwizard, you can quickly and easily make a CV that includes subtle yet impactful design elements and helps your application stand out. You can access a wealth of different CV templates, so there’s sure to be a design that suits your style, and the role you’re applying for.

Additional resources

You can incorporate graphical icons into your CV in MS Word or other word-processors, or in a graphic design software such as Adobe Illustrator, or web-based design apps like Canva. While word processors and design packages may provide you with access to some sets of icons, you can also browse and download icon packs from other images and graphics websites. These include Freepik, Flaticon, Shutterstock and Icons8. However, specialist CV makers such as CVwizard offer a more straightforward process than any of these tools or apps, allowing you to design a professional, stylish CV in just a few clicks.

Key takeaways for adding icons to your CV

Careful and considered placement of icons can make a big different to the overall look and feel of your CV. Choose your icon sets wisely and follow a clear set of rules about their use and placement that complements the other design elements of the document. CVwizard can help you tackle the challenge of designing a high-quality CV with ease. Sign up to design your personalised CV and access a range of beautiful CV templates to make a CV that stands out from the crowd.

Share via:

Make an impression with your CV

Create and download a professional CV quickly and easily.

Create CV