Should You Use a CV Template?

A Curriculum Vitae takes time to prepare and shouldn’t be done overnight. Still, there is a basic formula that may help you get the process started quickly and efficiently. This formula is not a CV template. It’s a baseline guide from which springs a superior document.  The formula is theme, content and order. When you lock yourself into a CV template, you cannot prioritize the order, design or additional content that will help your CV stand out from the pack.

Theme. Baselines for any CV should begin with a proper heading and academic or scientific focus. In other words, what is the theme that you’re conveying? In a snapshot, the reader should discern the primary discipline, emphasis and qualifications level the candidate possesses simply by scanning the document headers and the top third of the document. There are additional content items, traditionally found on resumes, which are now threading their way onto a CV and helping you craft an eye-catching snapshot that conveys your theme to the reader.

Content. A CV has loads of content, which should also include strategic headers. When too many items are pulled into one section the document loses focus and continuity. Still, content and headers should also include important keywords and phrases that will pass smoothly through an Applicant Tracking System (ATS).  A CV template doesn’t account for this, nor will it capture the essence of who you truly are. That’s why strategic content that supports your theme is so important.

Order. Build your CV from the baseline content that you feel exemplifies your strong skillset. From there, the order should emphasize your theme at the top with a hook at the end. The way you order the CV should keep the reader engaged to peruse all the key sections. The nice thing about building a CV is that this document doesn’t need a lot of flourish to make an impact. There is a happy medium, which doesn’t come from using a CV template but instead, from designing an impactful Career Portfolio. 

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