Why should you avoid the Europass CV like plague?

//Why should you avoid the Europass CV like plague?

Idea in short

  • Europass CV format was created by the European Commission with the best of intentions.
  • This CV format offers internship and job seekers no clear advantage and turns off recruiters.
  • Unless explicitly requested by employers, steer clear of the Europass CV format.

If you have not heard about the Europass CV, then congratulate yourself. According to Wikipedia:

Europass is a European Union (Directorate General for Education and Culture) initiative to increase transparency of qualification and mobility of citizens in Europe. It aims to make a person’s skills and qualifications clearly understood throughout Europe (including the European Union, European Economic Area and EU candidate countries).

The Europass CV was created by a European Commission directive in 2005 with the very best of good intentions. Around 30 European countries are currently participating in the Europass Initiative. Nevertheless, the Europass CV doesn’t give any benefits to internship and job seekers. Furthermore, its template is ranked even lower than a short and plain CV. Despite its shortcomings, lots of job seekers, both within and outside the EU, believe that by using the Europass CV, they are one step closer to landing a job in Europe. The major shortcomings of this CV format are:

  • CV wizard: The Europass CV is created by a template wizard that you add your details into it and it creates your Europass for you. The wizard takes the responsibility for formatting away from the candidate. What you get is a badly formatted CV with gaping white spaces, ugly tables, unwanted Europass logo, etc. In short, this CV format defies all the best practices from psycho-optics that help you stand out.
  • Commonplace: The Europass CV is so commonplace that recruiters and hiring personnel sub-consciously navigate away from your application. Check out these LinkedIn posts from Dominique Muhlematter and Emmanouil Maragkos; their articles reflect what a majority of recruiters feel when they receive a Europass CV. This template is very generic and faceless. Consequently, many good applicants have been overpassed just because their expertise wasn’t expressed in a proper, clear and comparable way. By using a customised and well designed CV that contain the essential details relevant to the job, you demonstrate that you have actually spent some time to create your CV.
  • Low marketing value: Your application documents are your marketing collaterals. Your CV and Cover Letter designs are like your personal signature. It is your chance to create something that will stand out from the rest and get this important good first impression that could land you an interview. By using a common CV format, you miss out important opportunities to differentiate yourself from other applicants. You don’t like canned food, do you? Neither do the employers.
  • Low recall value: Almost all companies receive thousands of CVs per job posting. One doesn’t have to do the sums to see how much time the HR or hiring personnel spend on screening each one of them. On average, they spend 7–10 seconds per CV and the screening is very brief. So, if you want to snag a job at a hot company, your CV should strike the recruiter immediately. A unique CV template may well give you a few seconds more while the Europass one can take a few seconds off.
  • Missing structure: The core of your CV should be the content,  which should present compelling reasons why you’re a good match for the job. Pyramid principle helps organise the content to be appealing to the various members in the hiring company (HR, line management, team lead, etc.), but again, Europass fails to provide a structure to distill, assemble, and organise the information in a professional manner.
  • Irrelevant sections: There is a whole section dedicated to social skills and competences. Your CV should contain the most relevant objective information. The hiring personnel will evaluate your soft skills and social competences during the interview. We have seen that several candidates using the Europass CV template were blindly  following the template and won’t go further than a list of skills sloppily thrown into the mix with no background, context, or quantitative justification. This does more harm than good.

So, unless some employer explicitly requires a Europass CV, steer clear. But, be careful make sure your CV is good, because a bad one will hurt you more than a canned one! CV is all about personal branding, this is your most important application document that will get you a job. If you have the skills and eye to create your compelling design, by all means, go for it and design your own CV format. If you’re like the most of job / internship seekers, spend some money on a good CV design and / or seek expert help. This investment will pay off in the long run!

Summary

  • The Europass CV doesn’t give any benefits to internship / job seekers because it has become too commonplace.
  • This template is ranked even lower than a short and plain CV, deteriorating your interview chances.
  • Ensure that you use a good CV format because a bad one will hurt you more than a canned one.
By |2018-09-24T19:57:29+00:00September 24th, 2018|Career|

About the Author:

Mithun Sridharan
I am Mithun Sridharan, Managing Partner & Co-founder of INTRVU, where I run the Career Services track. I'm also responsible for strategy and platforms at INTRVU. An Engineer by education and a Management Consultant by passion, I advise clients on strategic management, business and Digital initiatives. I hold an MBA from the European School of Management & Technology (ESMT) Berlin and a Master of Science in Digital Communications from Christian Albrechts University of Kiel. I also run Think Insights, a blog on Management Consulting and serve as the Frankfurt Chapter Lead for The Linux Foundation since 2016. I enjoy reading business books & magazines (Economist, Wired, Harvard Business Review, McKinsey Quarterly, BCG Insights, etc.), listening to podcasts (TED Talks, David Ramsey Show, a16z, Tim Ferriss Show, etc.), playing golf and watching history documentaries. I am based in Heidelberg, Germany.
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