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How to choose the right CV template

Published on: 29 Jun 2017

There are so many different CV templates available. The web is literally awash with 1000s of them, many proclaiming greatness over all others. This must be very confusing to the job seeker. However, you can easily find or create a CV template that works effectively by following a few common-sense rules.

You want the content to stand out, not the CV template

In many respects, the whole focus on CV templates themselves is wrong. It is not the CV template that is important it is the content. The template provides the backdrop. It is not about trying to grab attention with lots of colour. In fact, the best CV templates are often simply designed and don’t use any colour other than black and white. They allow the words to stand out.

Avoid over designed CV templates

Some websites offer CV templates with an array of flashy colours, infographics and gimmicky design features. This is often at the expense of the content which can reduced to a few lines here or there. This is not the right approach. Employers are not looking for individually designed CVs. They are looking for written evidence of achievements and expertise.

Don’t go looking for a magic wand

Finding the right CV template is about using common sense, not waving a magic wand. For instance, you want to make sure the headings are clearly laid out so the reader can navigate their way aound the CV easily. Ensure sufficient white space so you don’t present the reader with a sea of black ink and tiny writing. A minimum of 11 point using a typeface like Tahoma or Arial is ideal.

Choose a template that is practical and looks professional

Remember any information contained within infographics, charts or tables may not get picked up by ATS systems so avoid using these. Recruiters may want to print your CV so never use coloured backgrounds that can fill-in when printed. Stick to black and white. 

Reference your final CV against the original template

Once you have written your CV check your version against the original CV template. Make sure you match the formatting and style settings as it is easy, particularly if you make regular changes, for the these to lose their original form after constant tweaking. 

So, remember a good CV template is not one that takes centre stage. It should allow your career history to shine above all else.

This article is written by Neville Rose, Director of CV Writers.

CV Writers, the official CV writing partner to APM Jobs and provide a CV writing service including a Free CV review. They also publish Perfect CV, a professional CV writing toolkit that includes a professional CV template, video guides and a CV checking service.