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Are CVs supposed to be ugly?

  1. Jul 3, 2014 #1

    UVW

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    Hi all,

    I'll be applying for grad schools in the fall, so I've been thinking a lot about CVs lately. I have a fancy, pretty, LaTeX CV (it's still clear and simple, of course).

    However, whenever I see CVs from professors' home pages, they usually look like they're done in Microsoft Word with almost no formatting. Here's an example of what I mean:

    https://studentaffairs.stanford.edu/sites/default/files/cdc/files/CV-example-6.pdf [Broken]

    What's the deal with this? Is this a preferable format for CVs? It seems a little effortless, but maybe this is the way to do it.

    Thanks!
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
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  3. Jul 3, 2014 #2

    AlephZero

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    I disagree that your example PDF has "almost no formatting". The formatting has been thought out and designed to be functional, and unobtrusive.

    I see CVs in industry, not in academia, but in my situation
    1. The amount of time I have to look at a CV and make an initial judgment on it is maybe 30 seconds. If you are lucky, you might get a whole minute of my time in the first pass through the pile of applications.
    2. Something that looks "in-your-face" fancy or pretty says "snake oil salesman," especially if it's not obvious where the actual content is hiding on the page.
    3. If every CV I saw was as logically laid out and easy to read as that PDF, a lot of candidates would have improved their chances of getting to an interview compared with what they actually produce.
     
  4. Jul 3, 2014 #3

    Vanadium 50

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    I agree with AlephZero, although the way I was going to say it is that CVs don't need dancing baloney.
     
  5. Jul 14, 2014 #4

    DrDu

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    I agree on the utmost importance of a CV being well structured, but this does not mean that it has to be black and white and to look like written with a manual typewriter using ascii fonts only. Decent use of colour may guide the eye. You also should not forget that it is an opportunity to show off with your expertise in the use of text editors, something that should be granted when you are applying for a job requiring IT skills.
    If you are using latex, I like the following style:
    http://robjhyndman.com/hyndsight/cv/

    But at the end of the day, it's a case of chance as the tastes of potential employers vary.
     
  6. Jul 14, 2014 #5

    AlephZero

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    ... so long as it will survive going through a black-and-white photocopier!

    (Paper copies have a big advantage over electronic documents: you can write whatever you like on them, and at the end of the process shred and incinerate them. If you annotate electronic documents, you have probably left an audit trail somewhere ....)
     
  7. Jul 14, 2014 #6

    analogdesign

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    I'd say be a bit careful about this. Many companies are using integrated HR systems these days that scan in your resume using OCR (or simply parse the file if you send PDF or Word). I've gotten some mangled resume's from candidates who had fancy formatting in their original resume.

    When I get resumes for a requisition from HR, they come in straight ascii text. No font sizes or bold, either. One reason that the linked CV looks the way it does is it will actually appear formatted when it is through the HR sausage maker.

    On the other hand, if you're sending it to an individual who asked for it, or a very small organization, maybe a fancier CV would be ok.
     
  8. Jul 14, 2014 #7

    jbunniii

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    In the best case, the applicant emails a PDF or DOC, and HR forwards it in that form to the interviewers. They will probably print it on a black and white laser printer or a cheap color inkjet printer. In the latter case, probably one of the color jets will be screwed up and any color in the original document will not look right.

    Unfortunately, especially at larger companies, HR will want to take a more active involvement, which means they will copy-paste your resume into some database, preserving only rudimentary formatting and none of your fancy fonts/colors. The interviewers might receive only the database version.

    If for some reason you sent a paper resume (does anyone still do that?) then if it is not ignored, you can assume that it will be scanned/OCR'd as a first step, and then one of the above procedures will be followed.
     
  9. Jul 15, 2014 #8

    DrDu

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    I made the experience that these bigger companies mostly use some application system where you spend hours typing in these informations yourself and only at the end, you can also upload some letter and CV.
     
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