If you’re using a Word template that you’ve downloaded from the Internet and it’s not one of ours, make sure you remove any unnecessary branding that the website have added in. To edit headers and footers (where branding is usually put in), you can usually just double click them in Word. Our templates don't have any branding in them.
Make sure you’re putting the right things into your Word CV template and don’t overload your CV with unnecessary information and waffle - it’ll make it harder for HR to find what they really want to see. Use the headings provided to guide you and as a rule of thumb, keep your CV under 2 pages. To get it right, check out our free guide on ‘How to write a CV’ (or ‘How to write a CV for clinical jobs‘) and view example CVs.
Make sure you customise each CV that you send out to the role you’re applying for, highlighting where you have the required skills and education mentioned in the job ad, and reiterating this in your covering letter. This makes you look like you are more suited to the role than candidates who submit a generic CV.
Be cautious about the personal information you offer. For example, does your prospective employer really need to know that you’re married with 3 kids, or you’re 50? This type of information might say to your employer that you have a lot of out-of-work commitments that might get in the way of the job, or that you might not be as in touch with the latest developments in your area of expertise as somebody younger. It’d be lovely to think that people don’t exercise any of their prejudices and view all CVs without any discrimination but the fact is, we’re only human. The aim of the game is to get your foot in the door and secure an interview, giving you the chance to impress them in person. So don’t give them any reason to reject you at CV stage.
Avoid distracting design elements, fancy colours and fonts for the majority of jobs – the above Word CV templates towards the top of the page all have a simple, clean layout without any of these unprofessional elements. For creative jobs, these are more appropriate as they show your creative flair and catch attention.
Check the requirements of applying for the job carefully – messing up on small details like applying to the right person, getting their name right, and including the information they’ve asked for in your application, can be the difference between getting the interview and seeing your CV end up in their bin.
In a time where candidates with degrees are ten a penny, experience has never been more important. Show that you have the right experience for the particular vacancy you're applying for. Short of work experience for your CV? Read our article on work experience and skills.
Ensure your CV includes adequate ways for prospective employers to contact you. If you have a current job, consider that they may call you while you are at work so it is a good idea to provide an email address and to state "(preferred)" next to it. If you do offer your mobile phone number, make sure your voicemail is activated in case they call when you cannot answer.
Above all, don’t forget to spell check your CV, read it out loud and get someone to read over your CV for you. Trivial mistakes could cost you that life-changing interview.
These CV templates give you examples of how you might complete your CV for popular professions:
You are free to download, customise, print and use these free CV templates for your own personal use.
Centred Word CV template - centred, modern style, using the Arial font.
Two column Word CV template - black and white, headings to the left, content to the right, using the Arial font.
Classic Word CV template - fine border, traditional Garamond font for a high level of professionalism.
Neat and simple Word CV template - plain layout, simple line dividers, Times New Roman for a professional finish.
Two column narrow Word CV template - headers to one side, info to the other - Arial Narrow font leaves plenty of space for your info.
Simple Word CV template - grey 'blockquote' style sections, simple layout and classic Garamond font.
Georgia basic Word CV template - a single dividing line, well organised sections and the traditional Georgia font.
Tahoma essential Word CV template - simple, centred layout, neatly organised sections and the attractive Tahoma font.
Stylish garamond Word CV template - divided into two sections by a vertical line, neatly arranged and using the classic Garamond font.
Word CV template with grey headers - sections are split up by the grey band headers, uses the popular Garamond font for a stylish finish.
Verdana Word CV template - Sections divided by lines, job and quals split into 3 columns, uses the neat Verdana font.
Once you've chosen your favourite CV template and downloaded it, you might want to customise it and paste in information from your existing CV or other documents. Here are some quick tips to help:
When you're copying and pasting text into your CV from some other document, always use 'Paste special'. You'll find this at the top left corner of the 'Home' tab in Microsoft Word 2010. Choose the 'unformatted text' option - this ensures that what you're pasting ends up in the same font as your chosen CV template
To add a page border to your CV in Microsoft Word 2010, go to the 'Page layout' tab and click the 'Page borders' button. You can then choose the style of your border from the list (tip: keep it simple!) and click on the four sides to apply it to the four sides of your document. Another option is to add a thicker coloured band down one side which adds a little interest to your CV. To do this, change the line-width to e.g. 6pt, change the colour to your chosen colour and click the left hand side of the diagram, to apply to the left side of the document:
If you'd like to see how to do this on video, check out our resume templates page.
These websites are extremely useful for jobseekers, providing help and tips to give you the best possible chance of securing your dream job:
National Careers Service - this site is great for those who aren't entirely sure how they want their career to develop. It's got a huge selection of job profiles (over 700) to give you inspiration, together with CV advice and help for those dealing with redundancy, an increasingly common issue in today's employment marketplace.
Prospects - Prospects is another great site for school leavers who aren't entirely sure which direction they want to go in. As well as CV advice, you'll find interview tips and a heads up on the best places to discover vacancies.
Jen Wiss-Carline has been a Chartered Legal Executive for over 10 years. She is also a Digital Marketing Consultant with considerable experience across a wide range of industries. Previously, Jen has worked for two Nottingham recruitment agencies and has consulted extensively on recruitment, careers, staff management and training at Senior Management level.