Ways to get the most out of your new CV template
We’re often contacted with little questions about customising our templates and so we know what sort of issues commonly arise. Here are some top tips for making sure your CV template looks just as good as the example:
- INSTALL THE FONTS FIRST! We can’t emphasise how important it is to have the required fonts installed on your PC before you open the file. Otherwise Word will substitute the fonts with something else and your CV template simply won’t look as pretty. If you install the fonts, open up the file and find that Word SAYS it is using the right fonts but actually, it’s substituting, just highlight the relevant area of text and select the appropriate font again.
- This CV contains images and MS Word likes to compress them so they look fuzzy. Why, oh why! Whilst you’re still in Word, choose FILE > OPTIONS > ADVANCED > DO NOT COMPRESS IMAGES IN FILE. The final file will look sharper. If then you’re looking at the file and the images look fuzzy, make sure the screen is on 100% and not a lot greater as the graphics are designed to be viewed at 100%.
- Want to make your CV into a PDF? USE ADOBE ACROBAT or a professional PDF programme to create the PDF from the Word file. Word’s built in feature isn’t great and you may find the graphics aren’t perfectly sharp.
- If you can’t use Adobe Acrobat or a professional PDF programme, when you go to SAVE AS in Word and choose PDF, note that an Options button appears underneath. Click this (see below) and experiment with toggling on and off the option to make the document ISO19005-1 Compliant – sometimes this can help.
- Another option that works for some people is to go FILE > PRINT then under printer choose ADOBE PDF. This then ‘prints’ the CV to a PDF and for some people, it does so with crystal clear graphics.
- Some people also suggest DoPDF which is a PDF file printer. This is a great free option if the option to print to Adobe PDF doesn’t appear for you on your system.
- To replace the picture in the CV template with your own, just right click and select ‘CHANGE PICTURE’. If you don’t want to include a picture, just select it and hit return. It’s more common to include a photo on your CV/résumé in the US than in the UK but it really depends on the role. If you do decide to include a photo make sure that it is a professional head shot, and that you look friendly and approachable. You might like to read our article ‘Should I include a CV photo?‘ before making your decision.
- We might sound like a broken record in saying this (see our careers advice blog) but it really, really pays to customise your CV template to the role. It’s not that you’ll be changing the information as such – you just need to make sure that you highlight the information that’s most relevant to the particular employer you’re applying to. When you read the job advert, you’ll get a real sense of what’s important to that employer, including particular soft skills, hard skills, experience and qualifications. No two employers are the same and every role is unique. By tailoring your CV to the job advert, you’ll give yourself the very best chance of getting an interview. For example:
- If teamworking is a huge part of the role, you’ll want to give examples from each of your previous roles for how you’ve successfully worked in a team.
- If the employer has asked for ‘proven sales experience’, they’ll want to see you back up your application with stats showing how you met or exceeded your targets in previous roles.
- If the employer is looking for someone who works independently and takes their own initiative, you’ll want to mention on your CV successful projects where you’ve done exactly that.
- Finally, don’t forget that it’s worth putting just as much effort into your covering letter and ensuring it spells out in a few lines exactly how you meet the job specification. Your covering letter does not copy the CV verbatim – instead you summarise how you meet the job spec, inviting the employer to find out more from the CV. So for example if the employer is looking for 3 years of work experience, you state in your covering letter that you have this and they will then be able to review the quality of your experience on your CV. Click here to read more about writing the winning cover letter, with examples.
Did our CV template help you today? Is there something we could be doing better? Please do leave us a review above – it helps us so much! Thank you!