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What is the best CV template to use?

Updated: Apr 20, 2022

When searching the internet for what is the best CV template to use - you can become overwhelmed with the choice and breadth of style. Its paramount that you choose the right template in order to enhance your chances of securing interviews because if you don't you will only be wasting your time on countless failed job applications.

In my opinion there are traditionally 2 main formats of CV, a few sub categories and a solution!

1. ATS compliant CVs

A CV template that is designed to comply with ATS (Applicant Tracking System) rules and ensures that when you upload your CV to LinkedIn, an industry job board or a corporate job portal your information gets scanned correctly and ranks you depending on keywords, experience and qualifications. Sub categories of ATS CVs are:

a. Reverse Chronological CV

A chronological CV focuses on presenting the candidate's experience on an employer-by-employer basis, with the posts being listed in reverse chronological order. Chronological CVs should also contain a brief personal statement at the front which sets out the key skills and strengths of the candidate. This is the most common type of CV.

b. Functional CV

Unlike a chronological CV, a functional CV places the emphasis on your skills and expertise rather than the chronology of your employment to date. Although not generally the preferred choice by most recruiters, some senior executive positions would require that a functional CV accompany a chronological one so that their key skills and achievements can be clearly identified.

c. Combined Style CV

A Combined CV follows both the chronological and functional format, which makes the CV slightly longer than normal (Typically 3-4 pages). However, it does offer the best of both types of CV and is becoming a more popular structure to use.

2. Creative Style CVs

Creative CVs might seem like a great idea at the time, but they could possibly annoy potential recruiters if not executed correctly - they are also NOT ATS compliant and you risk the chance of your information not getting scanned properly by an ATS algorithm. However, if the company explicitly asks for an application that's different from the norm, honour its request. Naturally, there are many levels of producing a creative CV.

You can use colour, graphics and logos to make it different and show off your design skills. These will grab attention for sure, but will it be the right kind of attention? When thinking of a creative CV, think about how it looks to the recruiter or employer. Will it be easy for them to read? Can they pick out the important information easily? Remember the LAZY Z - The Z like motion of the readers eyes...

PROS: Your CV will stand out from the crowd and you can often use a sidebar layout, enabling a 2 page layout, being easy on the eye.

CONS: If you are applying via an applicant tracking system your CV probably won't get scanned correctly and you stand the chance of not even getting past the algorithm stage.

3. The Solution - The Bigger Fish Hybrid Style CV

Since 2008, I have developed and tested 30+ CV templates, ranging from Chronological, Function, Hybrid and Create Style CVs. Its imperative to use an ATS compliant template although my eyes always get drawn to colour and style. In 2021 Bigger Fish launched its first ever Hybrid Style CV that utilises content from a Combined CV with the flare of a Creative CV, ensuring your CV passes an ATS scan and also looks great when it lands in front of a recruiter / hiring manager.

The CV includes Contact Details, Bespoke Summary, Key Skills / Keywords, Education, Career Highlights with 3 SAR Stories, Education, Early Career, Voluntary Roles, Training & Certifications, IT Skills, Publications, Memberships & Affiliations, Additional Information and Recommendations, packing a powerful punch all within a 3 page layout.

The Bigger Fish framework utilises knowledge of modern CV best practice, psychology, influential sales techniques, ATS compliance, keyword research and interview methodology to quickly demonstrate your business value to a potential employer.

Need to learn more about the Bigger Fish Hybrid Style CV Format? Check out the Bigger Fish CV Packages using the button below and start landing interviews within 2-4 weeks!


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