Don’t Use the Europass CV format, unless you’re forced to do so

One piece of advice that we give candidates is not to use the Europass CV format unless it is strictly required by employers. We are not alone in recommending this, as many recruiters dislike this specific template that was introduced by the European Union’s technocrats in 2004.


The basic idea behind the Europass is good – it wants to provide European citizens a common framework in which to present their skills. The problem is that the Europass format seems to have been designed by people who have little clue of how recruiters and companies perceive it.


Why do many recruiters dislike the Europass format?


“The candidate is not motivated enough! The CV looks exactly like all others!”


One argument is that the Europass format depersonalizes the candidate by putting him or her into a standardized box. If the candidate chooses a pre-conceived template like the Europass CV, it may give the impression that he or she was not motivated enough to create an original CV.


In other words, when a stack of 100 CVs with identical qualifications sit on the desk of a recruiter, who do you think will be invited to the interview? The one person who did not choose the Europass format, who took the effort of presenting his or her skills in a clearer and more appealing format.


Your CV is the first point of contact with recruiters! Use the Europass format only if it’s strictly required by the employer. You don’t want your CV to be lost in a stack of CVs that look all the same. More importantly, you don’t want recruiters to perceive you as unmotivated and unoriginal.


“The aesthetics are poor!”

The logo of the Europass CV, a little yellow fellow jumping around merrily, is enough to shy away many recruiters. So are the icons accompanying the elements in the personal information section. Rather than transmitting a professional image, these elements create unnecessary visual clutter.



There are other visual elements that are poorly formatted. For instance, the language and digital competencies table at the end of the documents occupies more space than necessary. They could be redesigned in a more minimalist way.


“What about the objective skills of the candidate?”


The Europass format encourages candidates to self-asses their skills and that is never a good idea. In the personal skills section, which occupies a disproportionate amount of space in comparison to the more important work experience section, candidates are instructed to self-asses their digital competencies and job-related skills.


The result is that oftentimes candidates fill this page with non-objective information that recruiters are not interested in or which they cannot prove right or wrong. We can’t stress this enough: spend more time describing your work experience in an objective manner, rather than filling the skills section with subjective information.

“There are some good sides!”


We are not here to bash the Europass format. As said before, there are some good sides to it. The idea that guided the project was to foster the movement of people across Europe and to facilitate labor integration. It has certainly helped many people in finding employment overseas.


All we’re saying is that it could be improved by taking the perspective of recruiters around Europe into consideration. As it is now, the Europass seems like a template conceived by bureaucrats who are a little out of touch with the reality of job hunting!


And you? What about your CV? Does it have what it takes to attract the attention of recruiters? At paperchance, we would be happy to help you show your unique strengths. Upload your CV and get a free, confidential review now: