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 European Commission created the Europass CV in 2005 to harmonise applicant comparison for openings in the public sector. Today, around 30 European countries participate in this initiative. Nevertheless, the Europass CV benefit job applicants pursuing opportunities in the private sector. This commonly used CV template is ranked lower than a plain CV. Many internship and job seekers erroneously believe that by using the Europass CV, they will get one step closer to landing a job in Europe. However, the Europass CV has major shortcomings.
A template wizard creates the Europass CV. You add your details and the wizard creates your Europass CV for you. The wizard takes the onus of formatting away from the candidate. However, 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 that help you stand out.
The Europass CV is so commonplace that recruiters and hiring personnel sub-consciously navigate away from your application. Check out the 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 eliminated just because their expertise wasn’t expressed in a proper, clear and comparable way. By using a customised and well designed CV, you demonstrate that you have actually put in some work in creating your CV.
Low marketing value
Your application documents are your marketing collaterals. Your CV and Cover Letter designs are like your personal signature. You have one chance to stand out from the rest of the applicants and get an interview. Hence, good first impressions are pivotal. By using a Europass CV, you miss out valuable opportunities to differentiate yourself, stand out, and make a positive impression.
Low recall value
Companies receive thousands of CVs per job posting. The HR or hiring personnel spend have screen each and every application. 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 immediately strike a sentiment with them. A unique, well-designed CV gives you a few more seconds with them, which translates to increased odds of getting an interview.
The core of your CV should be the content. Your CV should present compelling reasons why you’re such a great match for the job. Pyramid principle helps properly structure and organise the content in a manner that’s easily consumed by the various decision-makes in the hiring process. Europass fails to structure the information in this manner.
Europass CV has a whole section dedicated to social skills and competences. Many candidates fill this section with boilerplate content, such as Communication, Leadership, Presentation Skills, Team work, etc. Recruiters perceive this as buzzwords and usually skip these. As a result, you are losing valuable real estate on your CV. The hiring personnel will evaluate your soft skills and social competences during the interview. In short, this section 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!