CV Templates

Wednesday, February 20th, 2008 - Article, Blog, CV Template, CV Writing, tutorial


CV Templates

Fenway Park with bunting
Creative Commons License photo credit: magbell

When faced with the cost of employing a Professional CV writer, against the virtually free cost in doing their own, many candidates choose to use one of the many free CV templates on the internet.

So many and diverse are the free and paid template format CV templates, it seems at times like everybody and anybody is offering free CV templates on the web.

People who look for these free CV templates then simply copy what ever the template or simple instructions tell them to insert, and hurriedly fire them off to various recruiters and job boards.

And then they seem disappointed when they get no response.

Why, what did they expect? Free CV templates take no effort, you just follow the instructions – did you expect results when you didn’t learn the key lessons?

Using CV Templates

As a recruiter, I can tell you that you should not be surprised at the lack of a result that free CV templates brings:

  • Even if you had written a customised CV around a bespoke job, then your chances of getting a phone call are around one in three
  • “Your” CV template probably looks like the other one third I have just rejected. If you had to read through that many documents that looked exactly the same, would you remember one over the next?

Focus on that job, engagement with the reader and originality are key:

If you don’t read the job advert, from which the job specification was written, then that is your first point of failure. Use our five point “why was I rejected” test to understand what focusing on that job means, and why picking only the jobs you are qualified for is key to winning a new job opportunity

In filing your CV for a job, you MUST aim to engage the reader.

Thirdly, anyone can copy a format. Now, it is not that every CV is totally original, but it must be original around and reflect you. Your CV is the first point of contact with you have with your potential employer. Do you want to give the impression that you are average or just the same as everyone else? Or do you want to stand out from the crowd?

By simply using and filling out one of these free CV templates, you substantially lower your chances that the recruiter will remember you.

Can you sell yourself?

If, in example, you have been working as an office manager for over ten years, you will possess the skills and experiences required to carry out your job to the best of your abilities.  You will also be eager to ensure that potential employers who read your CV grasp the full nature of your experience.  But this does not necessarily mean that you have the skills required to write that exceptional CV to really sell yourself and consequently maximise your career potential.

A CV is simply a focused sales documents which is selling you as the product or service. You hence have to be original in your approach, and sell yourself to the recruiter or HR professional – by reflecting the skills they are searching for the job.

Free CV templates

Did you notice something about the free CV template website? Did it ask you for your name and eMail address before sending you the free MSWord or pdf format templates? And did the amount of spam mail increase a few days later into your eMail box? Or did your virus guard then alert you a few days later that you had a new infection?

You now know why free CV templates are free – there is a reason!

Is there a use for free CV templates?

Yes – Information! If you are new to job hunting, then knowing what to put into your CV can be hard – even working out how it should look can be difficult. If you can find CV templates which are web based (ie – simply copy and paste the text from an openly accessible web page), you can use CV templates to give you an idea what everyone else is doing. You could then go off and create your own CV. You can also use free CV templates to find out what other job seekers are using – about one third of them for your information!

But shouldn’t CV’s be in a standard format?

Yes and no – it is an issue of personal opinion even in the recruitment and HR industry as to what is right and wrong in the form of a CV! This is why you must read the job advert, which will give you lots of clues as to what you need to include (and what you don’t need to include); and how those skills should be proportioned and worded.

There is a lot to be said for having a conventional format for your CV – you shouldn’t make recruiters work for the information, other wise you will not communicate your skills or engage with them.

But this doesn’t mean you can’t be original: take web design for example. There are many conventional design issues in web design that most web designers follow – that doesn’t mean websites can’t be original and creative

Advantages of using CV templates:

  • They provide insight to what tools and writing styles the other work seekers will use; thus the standard. Always aim higher than the standard
  • They provide an outline of the format so that the recruiter can find the relevant information at a glance
  • It can be used as a guideline to what information is needed and what the current trend in job applications is.

Disadvantages of using CV templates:

Considering the fact that your CV is your introduction or even distant answer to possible interview questions, then you should try to stand out. Most of the preformatted CV’s don’t offer you this opportunity.

Choosing a free CV template

I would never recommend using free CV templates, but if you decide to then only use CV templates:

  • when you have just graduated
  • don’t have experience in job searching

CV templates can be used to get:

  • An understanding of what recruiters look for
  • The type of information that should be included and excluded
  • Style and format guidelines

Only use the basic outline and advice. You must be creative and changes fonts, colours and where needed, make changes to the layout to fit your application.

Summary:

  1. Read the job advert first, to see if you have the skills for that job. If you don’t, then simply – don’t apply!
  2. Only use templates: when you have just graduated; don’t have experience in job searching
  3. Free CV templates are useful in determining what the standard is and what you should change
  4. Originality and creativeness don’t mean loss of conventional formatting. You have plenty of options to customise your CV (font, size, layout) while keeping it in a conventional format (ie, education, work experience, etc)

You must ensure that your CV survives the elimination stages of the recruiters selection process, and still stands out enough to get the interview. The first page is the ticket to final selection, the rest of the content and lay-out determines whether you get the interview

After consideration of the above, it should be obvious that free CV templates can only be guidelines and nothing more. It’s up to you to create a CV that successfully conveys your skills and abilities – through the information included and the design of the CV.

In my personal opinion, and in the opinion of many industry professionals, you will have trouble doing this by simply filling-in a free CV templates.

External links:

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If you want to check the suitability of your existing CV, then get a FREE CV review

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