I like to receive them in PDF. Name of the attachment should ideally include your name, and not just be CV.pdf - it makes my life easier. Include a subject line in the email, and a short covering note saying where you saw the ad and why you are applying.
Anything more than 2 sides is too much. I want to know
- Work experience
- Level of programming ability, if not shown by work experience. Be honest. When a fresh grad claims intermediate C++, they invariably mean "took one course in it".
- Degree, including grade, or equivalent
- Hobby programming or anything that demonstrates an interest in programming
- Other interests (e.g. team sports, organisations, communications skills)
Anything else is just fluff. I don't mind it being there so long as the CV is less than 2 sides total.
Absolutely NO spelling mistakes. If English is not your native language, then get someone to read it through.
A covering letter is also nice, stating where you saw the advert and what position you're applying for. If you mention the company and/or address the recruiter by name (if the advert states it), then try to spell the names correctly. It's amazing how many people don't.
EDIT -- I apparently need to defend my position that I like to see the university grade. Since I usually target fresh grads for recruitment, University represents the most recent three or more years of their life. I want to know what they did with it, and the grade is important. I also take into account what they tell me about the course, their projects, and so forth. Despite what people say, I find that there is a correlation between people who do well at Engineering type degrees and who subsequently become good software engineers.
If you got a 3rd class degree, or whatever that equates to in GPA, then you are welcome to work here. But you not only need to show why you are good at software, you need to explain to me why you got a 3rd. Because at first face it looks like you pretty much failed in a course that you chose to study for three years. I know, of course, that there are plenty of good reasons why this may be the case, and I will ask. But the guy who got 70% in his degree has an advantage over the guy who got 50%, and that's just the way it should be.