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CV’s: Creative design or keep it plain for the online applicant tracking systems?

I’ve been doing some research with my fellow career colleagues on their advice on CV design;  whether to go creative, with colour, symbols, graphs, boxes etc.  (like some of these )  or whether to keep the online recruitment systems happy, which many large employers use,  by keeping it plain. 

Here are some great pieces of advice for you: 

  • Targeted CV content is the priority.  Regardless of your CV visual design choice, tailor your CV  content to fit the requirements for your audience as much as possible.  Eg Showcase your relevant achievements for a specific employer with facts and figures. Jobsboards such as CV library are using a single CV for you, so try regularly editing your CV on there, and edit the search words, to tailor the search for you.    
  • Try different CV designs for different places.   For example:
    • A plain one for the online recruitment system (which will often blow a fuse if it sees diagrams, boxes,  text that isn’t left-right across the whole page)  
    • A creative one for the recruiter/manager/network contact you have checked is interested to see a more creative/visual design, showcasing your profile in that way.   
  • Try using the LinkedIn free CV, (which you can edit too, to tailor it for positions/audiences).   Employers often request a CV directly from LinkedIn,  so you can send a LinkedIn CV to them.