By Manik Rege
Read: 20 mins
New to the series? Catch up here!
- Make a Job-Search Strategy
- How to craft a Killer C.V
- Why attach a Cover Letter
- DIY your Portfolio
- Acing the Interview
- How to Resign gracefully
By the time you finish reading this sentence, the HR of your dream company will probably have moved on to the next C.V.
Shocked? Don’t be. Extreme competition has forced recruiters to give only seven seconds for skimming each application, and deciding if they should even take the time to look at you seriously (Ladders).
So there are hundreds of papers piling up on their inbox daily. But just a couple blinks worth of time to make your case. Do you stand a chance of getting called?
Yes, if you follow the “Power C.V structure” I’m about to share. It packs in all the big punches to WOW employers! So you can start polishing those shoes for the interview right away haha! On that hopeful note, I welcome you to the second episode of our “On The Hunt” blog series: How to craft a killer C.V.
Here’s a roadmap of this article:
- Free resources to make a C.V
- Ideal export format
- Design elements (font, colour)
- What stuff to avoid
- Structure (organizing data)
- Case Studies
Ready to roll? Let’s go!
First, let’s set up our workshop. Here are some websites you may find useful while creating your C.V:
|Canva||Drag-&-drop base designer: Get templates or DIY||Crello, Snappa|
|Flaticon||Flat PNG vector icons with color control||Noun Project, icons8|
|Sejda||PDF Editor: Hyperlink, compress, convert, etc.||PDF Candy, iLovePDF|
|Grammarly||Grammar & spelling checker: Run text through||Hemingway Writer|
|Worded||Resume analysis: Quality score with stat results||EnhanceCV, RezScore|
|Venngage||Infographic maker: Get creative formats inspo||Visme, Adioma|
Ideally, Adobe Illustrator CC (or PhotoShop) is the best design tool for C.V’s. But for those of us who don’t have the Adobe Suite, Canva is the next best shot.
Now that you’ve got the tools ready to build the document, the next item on the checklist is deciding how to export it. Although exporting is technically the last step, you need to make the decision now because your choice will dictate various elements of your design (dimensions, font size, RGB/CMYK etc.) in Illustrator/Canva.
So which file format should you use? Word? PDF? JPEG? Unless your recruiter has specifically asked for Word (.docx), you should ALWAYS send it in a PDF. That is because a PDF format locks your data, design, and structure. It’s also universal for both Mac and Windows.
With Word, there’s a risk of it loading as gibberish on the other side if your receiver doesn’t have the necessary fonts or design elements. So PDF is safer and neater!
Tools? Check. Format? Done.
Now, we’re about to get to the real meat. But before we dive into the look & feel, here’s how my C.V looks like. Feel free to refer back to it as we move through the course.
When you’re designing, its best to avoid using a single template because you run the risk of becoming a me-too after the hundreds of applicants who have used it before.
So instead, try to spend 2-3 days looking at different templates for inspiration. Note down the elements you like in each of them (fonts, colors, format/structure, copy, etc.). Then, try to combine all these best elements into your own unique template.
For colors, I prefer to stick to shades of blue (#233140, #03396c, #005b96, #6497b1, #b3cde0). I contrast my headers with dark maroon (#7a1129) or a bolder font to make them pop out. Whichever color combo you use, ensure that different parts of the body (header, italics, bullet copy) are easily noticeable… without being too colorful or pop-y.
For font selection, go with these if you want to play it safe:
But if you’re up for trying a more modern look, try these on:
Canva’s blog has a longer list of font options to choose from here. In any case, avoid Times New Roman, Arial, Future, Brush scripts, or worse, Comic Sans. They’re either too generic (you look lazy), or downright childish (unless you’re applying to a kindergarten).