Career counseling · Old blog

Career counseling #8: Formatting your CV

Greg has now finished his studies, had a few jobs and his life is going in (almost) the right direction.

But, before this, when he was younger (he`s now 30), he couldn’t even get a job interview. It wasn’t that he didn’t have the skills or the passion that some jobs entailed. It`s that he had a very ugly CV and he didn’t even bother to apply correctly.

When he saw a posting, he clicked Compose in his email, put down the address, write “Application for…” in the subject field, attached the CV and click “Send”. That`s all he did for a few hundred jobs he applied before he turned 25.

The CV that he used, and all his friends did the same, was that Europass format that everybody now dislikes. Except for a few organizations that still demand you to use it, all others simply hate it.toon16

Here is why. The Europass CV is a template created by the European Union that was supposed to be easy to fill. It really is. I had several of them…in English, Romanian, French etc. Some I filled in online, some I used the template right in my PC. All were nice looking, perfectly aligned.

The catch is that most organizations now use recruitment software. You either fill it an application for online like you would do your CV there or create an account and attach the CV. This recruitment software cannot, usually, read a CV build with tables, like the Europass has. So Europass CV`s will be rejected by the system, meaning that some candidates (some of the best even) will not even reach the recruiter`s eyes.

Greg decided that he will create custom CVs for each type of job he wants to apply to. He googled academic CVs, corporate CVs and so on. He downloaded a few of them, double checking the format, and literally wrote them from top to bottom.

He didn’t use tables, he didn`t use headings. He only used bold and italic on the sections` titles and put in some bullet points now and then.

After applying for 5-10 jobs, he got his first job interview. Then came the second, the third. He didn’t get a job immediately, but, at least, now he had a fighting chance. He got the job he wanted after about six months and he`s now happier than he ever was.

My advice: create your own CVs as Greg did. Do not use the “easy to fill” online forms or templates. Check own different models, open your Word, Pages, or whatever you use, and create your CV as simple as possible from a formatting point of view.

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