Is A CV Template Right For You?
Search the web using your favourite search engine, be that Google or Bing for the term “CV Template” and you will find millions of results. Chances are also that the word processing software that you are looking to use will also have a fair few CV formats that you can use.
Don’t just follow the CV Template
One major issue I have with CV templates is that people blindly follow them without thinking about what they are doing. It’s easier in some ways to simply follow a form and fill it in but please remember that the single purpose of the CV is to get you interviewed for roles that you are interested in. Just following the template will not work for everyone.
If there are so many CV templates out there, can they all be good or all bad? The truth is that in my opinion, a CV template is neither good nor bad; however it stands to reason that if you have found one easily on the web then someone else will have found the same one as well.
The purpose of a CV is simply to get you interviewed. the problem is that using something generic, downloaded by many thousands of people, your CV will look similar to many people’s even though it might look good. Looking good isn’t the answer, having a CV work for you by getting you interviewed definitely is.
Beware of templates that simply look great. MS Word (and other programs) insert code into documents so that fancy format might just look terrible on a Smartphone or a Tablet. Personal taste is also something that you need to think about- you might well love that template but will the hiring manager, particularly if it makes life difficult for them by displaying incorrectly or they don’t like the colours.
I’m not against the use of tools if they might make your life easier and they work. In this case, I’d rather use a standard format as a guideline and a steer rather than blindly following everything in the document. Learn how to use a word processor properly and then, perhaps create your own format to follow.
What Templates Work Best?
The simple answer is that no one template works better than another. There are; however some elements that work better than others.
Templates that embed code into the document to make the document present better should be avoided at all cost. The main reason is that a CV needs to be readable on all sorts of devices such as smartphones, tablets, etc. and the code that is embedded can cause the content to be displayed incorrectly on a smartphone. All software packages insert code into a document to make the text appear where it should so you can’t avoid code completely but having tables in a document such as a CV for example is a no in my book.
Brightly Coloured CV Templates
Brightly coloured documentation is also an issue. There is a place for neatness and clarity of presentation within a document; however there is a substantial difference between a portfolio and a CV. I’ve lost count of the number of people I speak to in creative professions such as marketing and graphic design who prioritise design over content. The simple truth is that the CV will be read by people other that creatives so content within the CV is essential. If you are going to use a template, please make sure that the content isn’t obscured by the design and colours that you use.
Europass CV Template
The “Europass” CV template gained in popularity a little while ago; however has seemingly declined in popularity over the last couple of years. There are instances where using this format is essential. For example, I recently wrote a CV for a translator that currently works for the European Union. The employer that she was targeting insisted on the Europass format and so clearly, that was the one that needed to be used.
There are several issues that I have with the template, not least the insistence on using a photograph and disclosing your date of birth, These are two elements that should have no part on a CV in my opinion, not least for identity theft reasons. The Europass format does not display well on a smartphone either, another good reason to avoid it.
Skills CV Template
The skills CV format is often suggested by Government departments such as Job Centre Plus in the UK as being the best format to use to showcase your transferable skills, particularly when you have been made redundant, lost your job for other reasons or are changing job sectors.
The format can work; however more often than not does not work because the reader really wants to see what you have been doing recently and so having a first page covered in skills forces them to scroll down the page.
When a recruiter is looking at a CV for between 2 and six seconds, it stands to reason that forcing them to work hard to see what you do or have been doing is a bad idea. The problem with this type of template is that one size does not fit all and will not necessarily work for you.
What does this mean for you?
If you really do want a CV template, please email me at: email@example.com and I’ll be happy to send you one, free of charge, no strings attached.
I really would rather help people than have them struggle.
Author: Glenn Hughes
I’m a professional CV writer who also writes website content, LinkedIn profiles, helps people with bespoke job applications and more. I’ve been writing for the internet since 2009 and have many published articles.