Great question! This is something we have noticed as well. From what PRAC-E has heard from school leaders in relation to the hiring process, our intuition tells us not to get too worked up about the aesthetic of your CV. You mentioned that it’s almost like chasing a ‘secret formula’, and that simile is apt in a lot of ways.
No one knows you better than you! During the hiring process, you are the expert. Describe your passions, describe your most notable experiences and what you’ve learned from them. Content is king! A school leader will be looking for enthusiasm, initiative and passion for education, student care and your subject area.
By all means, ensure that your CV is clean, easy to read and professional. There are easy to use templates on Canva, if you need practical advice. However, a trap many beginning teachers can fall into is spending too much time on what a CV looks like, rather than what is actually in it!
Best of luck!