Is using a CV template a good or a bad thing?

When faced with the daunting task of creating a CV it can be easy to assume that the overall look isn’t as important as the credentials. While this may be true for the most part, more and more employers are expecting the applications they receive to look professional.

If you were to go back about 15 years you would only need a few minutes to create the actual template for a CV. All you would need to do is separate each section with a title in bold, and then simply enter in your skills, experience and education. Although the standard black and white CV is still used and acceptable today, you can however opt for something more creative.

The number of job seekers now turning to free CV template downloads has risen dramatically in the past few years. But why? What are the advantages to using a CV template, and are there any downsides?

So is using a CV template a good or a bad thing?

Let’s take a look at the pros and cons and delve further into the world of free CV template downloads.

The pros to using a CV template

They save time

Time is usually of the essence, and job seeking can take up a lot of it. There may come a time when you need to apply quickly for a job, so using a CV template would drastically speed up the process.

Creating a CV layout can take hours, so choosing a CV template allows the individual to focus more of their time and attention into the content.

Stress relief

Writing and searching for a job can be a very stressful process. For the most part, the stress may come down to worrying about how to write a great CV that will impress the employer. But a larger part of that stress also comes down to the layout and presentation.

It is not easy to start with a blank page and instantly create a fantastic looking CV layout. Nor is it easy revamping an existing CV that is in need of a makeover. Having to spend just a few minutes choosing a CV template to download and use takes all that stress away.

They can look great

You will notice that I used the word ‘can’ in the above title. It is very important to realise that choosing a CV template which will impress the employer and increase your chances of success fall into the hands of how keen of an eye you have for detail, and how reputable the online website is that you’ve chosen.

But assuming that you go with a reputable company that clearly have some great CV template designs to choose from, you should be in safe hands. Which then leads us onto the decision that using a CV template is a good way to guarantee that your credentials will look great.

If you lack in creativity or the experience in creating CV templates (don’t we all), then using a CV template will help ensure your CV looks professional.

Sections are confirmed

We’ve seen many CVs over the years and you’d be surprised at how many miss out an important section. Using a CV template guarantees that you have all the sections you need to fill out for the employer. In addition, you may come across a CV template that offers a new section that you’ve not seen before – like a ‘Core skills’ or ‘Career objective’ section.

Having that guarantee that you will be able to complete all the sections an employer would expect to see makes the whole process a lot easier and quicker.

It can increase your chances of getting an interview

In many instances you will find that those that use CV template downloads increase their chances of success. Getting to the interview stage is half the battle, so the overall look and presentation of a CV certainly matters.

In today’s competitive job market the employer expects all aspects of a CV to be to a high standard. No longer will you get by with amazing qualifications, and the look of your CV needs to make a positive impact too.

The cons to using a CV template

If you make the wrong choice

Not every CV template you come across will impress an employer – or anyone to that end. Some of them just don’t look great, and may even have important sections missing. This could mean that your chances are actually decreased and you would have been better off creating one yourself.

So make a wise choice and take your time when choosing. Our advice would be to ask someone else which one they like. Two pairs of eyes are better than one and you may find that your friend disagrees with your choice and saves you from embarrassment.

Don’t be lazy

Choosing a CV template can sometimes feel like most of the hard work has been done. This kind of lazy thinking can land you in trouble, and could move your focus away from the final ingredient – your credentials.

Getting a job interview relies on the presentation of your CV, but also what you have to offer. It will not matter how amazing your CV looks if you forget to focus your time on tailoring your CV. A well-tailored and customised CV that focus solely on supplying relevant information will have a fantastic impact.

So don’t be lazy and assume the hard work is done – choose a CV template, but don’t forget that you still need to spend a few hours writing a great CV!

“In a climate where so many good candidates are chasing the same jobs it makes sense to give yourself every possible opportunity to show that you are different and worthy of an interview.”

~ Robert Gaines, OnTarget

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