Canva CV templates – a recruiter’s perspective

As a recruiter, I review 100s of CVs. Many of them are excellent, however, many I see are filled with information that is irrelevant to the role being applied to or don’t provide enough information.

Others have great content but are just really poorly laid out. Full of errors in spelling and grammar that distract from the great content and can make the candidate appear unprofessional.

What has caused me grief recently, though is the surge in Canva formatted CVs. I know I’m not alone, and I have spoken with many other recruiters and clients who don’t like them.

Don’t get me wrong, I love Canva; I use it constantly. It’s a fabulous graphic design tool for non-graphic designers. But when putting together your CV, it’s MUCH more important to focus your time and effort on the content and putting your best self forward for the role. Otherwise, how do you stand out from other candidates when your CV looks like everyone else’s?

Here are a few of the reasons why I would suggest you avoid using a Canva template for your CV and some tips for improving what goes in:

The template states your soft skills – it doesn’t give examples

The CV may include subjective lines or pictures of your soft skills. Below is an example of what I’m referring to. What it does not tell me is how you manage your time or any other soft skill you mention. To be honest, I ignore these types of pictures. Also, the CRMs that recruiters use don’t like them, and I do not search for candidates under “self-management” or “problem-solving.” Make sure you give examples to demonstrate the ‘how’ instead.

Soft Skills 2

2 column formats are not ideal

I have a problem with 2 column formats. I find it hard to read and scan and can’t easily find where to start. It doesn’t communicate your story about your career well. Two columns may help save space, but it can look like you’re trying to cram too much information in. I have only seen a few CVs where this was not the case.

Most people (including recruiters and clients – we’re people too!) have been brought up reading across the entire page, so reading small columns with crammed-in content doesn’t help me retain the information, particularly when I’m doing an initial scan of the content. Applicant Tracking Systems (automated software that some recruiters use) are often not programmed to scan two columns either.

Good formatting is about drawing attention to your strongest content so you can focus your efforts here instead.

Same same – the format takes away from the content

The problem with Canva templates is that as soon as I see it, I know it’s a Canva template, and I see many CVs using the same Canva templates. Many of these templates don’t cover all of the details that I want to see.

What I want is for the template to be modified to suit the content and not that you’ve modified the content to suit the template.

Only 1 or 2 pages is too brief

Many of the Canva CV templates are only 1 or 2 pages. This means that I often don’t get a full CV or resume but more of a short bio of you. This is okay to be used at certain times, but for most roles, you still need to have a full CV.

1-2 pages is too light on real detail, and real achievements may be excluded due to the formatting. You risk leaving things out to fit the format rather than the information dictating the format.

CVs should be 3 -5 pages, depending on your experience level. If you’re asked for two pages, though, only do two pages. (See my previous musing on CVs versus resumes)

Applicant Tracking Systems – CRM scanning

There are also reported issues with software systems incorrectly scanning the headings and information in Canva templates. This incorrect data is then entered into the recruiter database. You may be missing out on important opportunities as your profile either has the wrong information or insufficient information to be picked up by the hiring manager when doing a keyword search on a role.

What should a CV/resume do?

Ultimately, a CV aims to make you stand out from the crowd and land yourself an interview. It should highlight to me, particularly on the first page, what value you can bring to the role. This is what I’m looking for and why the content is much more important than the format. However, having a neat, tidy and professionally presented CV is important.

It should include the jobs you have held and the companies you have worked for and show me very quickly that you have the skills and experience to do the job that I am advertising.

A CV should not be based on formatting alone but on your expertise clearly articulated to create impact. Through personalised coaching, mexec’s jobstrategyTM program can work closely with you to delve into what you can offer an employer and make sure your CV stands out from others. We’ll work with you to help get that interview and, hopefully, land your ideal role.

2 thoughts on “Canva CV templates – a recruiter’s perspective”

  1. Thanks so much Marilyn this is the most valuable and best asvice I’ve read so far regarding resumes.

    So much different content and advice it can become very confusing and I really like the fact you’ve simplified it Thank you.

    I really enjoy your newsletters!


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