Executive CV Template Best Practices & Examples
The CV template you choose will leave a first impression - either enhancing or detracting from your credibility as an executive.
By leveraging effective CV design, you’ll help recruiters quickly find key information and draw their attention to your most impressive achievements.
On the other hand, sloppy or unprofessional document design can work against you, hurting your chances of securing interviews.
In this article, we’ll discuss:
- CV Formatting Advice from Executive Recruiters
- Key Executive CV Design Principles
- Executive CV Template Examples & Downloads
CV Formatting Advice from Executive Recruiters
While you may have come across graphic CVs that include multiple columns and colors floating around the internet, recruiters agree that a traditional design works best for executives.
Traditional CV templates are viewed as classic, elegant, credible and professional: all attributes you want to convey.
Darrell Rosenstein, Founder of The Rosenstein Group, says that “A clean, minimalist style is preferred for an executive CV. A modest black and white design is a safe bet even when applying for positions in the creative industries.”
If you are applying for jobs at large companies that use applicant tracking systems, using a template with multiple columns, graphics or excessive colors can also hurt your chances.
“Looking for a job is tough. Don’t let formatting issues add an unknown hurdle,” said Kelly Garland, Principal of executive recruiting firm Garland Source.
“Pictures, big initials and funky address formats might make your CV import poorly into a company’s internal applicant system.”
As an executive, your accomplishments should speak for themselves. Unless you are applying for a design-related role, you don’t need to worry about impressing recruiters with a flashy document.
“I want to see hard results and achievements,” explained Rosenstein.
“Not just in words, but more importantly, in numbers. Someone who is gunning for a top-management position must show their capacity to provide high-level solutions to the macro problems that any company has to deal with.”
Key Executive CV Design & Content Principles
When choosing an executive CV template, consider the following tips:
- Use a font size between 10-12 points for your body text
- Use a slightly larger font for your section headings
- Choose serif fonts over sans serif fonts to improve readability
- Consider pairing two complementary fonts: one for section headings and one for body text
- Make sure your spacing between sections is 100% consistent
- Leave margins between 0.5 – 1 inch on all sides
- Do not use a two-column design to maximise space and for ATS compatibility
- Ensure your document has “breathing room” and isn’t overly cluttered
Colors & Graphics
- Use colors very sparingly
- Do not include a photo
- Do not include infographics or charts
- Craft accomplishment-driven bullet points that demonstrate your impact
- Tailor your document to your target roles
- Structure your work experience chronologically
- Separate your achievements (bullet points) from your day-to-day responsibilities (paragraph format)
Executive CV Templates
Below, we provide examples of effective executive CV templates that leverage the principles we discussed.
We encourage you to use these as inspiration as you design your own CV.
If you like one of these ATS-friendly executive CV templates, click on the sample image to download the template in Word format for £9.99.
Classic Executive CV Template
Our classic executive CV template is a client favorite.
This template pairs two classic and modern serif fonts, resulting in a tasteful presentation.
Minimalist Executive CV Template
Our minimalist executive resume template is appropriate for clients in conservative professions such as legal and finance.
Accent Executive CV Template
Our accent executive CV template leverages classic formatting and a subtle splash of color to leave a positive impression.
About CV Pilots
CV Pilots is an award-winning executive CV writing, career coaching and outplacement firm. Our previous clients include CEOs and senior executives at the world's leading companies.
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