I'm a European CS student, looking to apply to a few companies for a summer internship. I am building my resume, but I'm wondering whether I should go with the standard Europass format, or a custom format - and by custom, I don't mean a different structure, but maybe a lighter, more padded table structure, different formatting, maybe a different font, etc.

Would this have a particular (positive/negative) impact? Would it help my resume stand out (I personally (optimistically) think that this shouldn't matter, that only the content and actual experience should matter, that it's not some fancy font and center-aligned subsection titles that should make the difference, but I feel that I should ask anyway), or would it hurt my chances? (one example of custom template would be the one described in this article)

I've seen a lot of debates regarding this topic and no definite answer. So, should I stick to the already existing resume templates, or should I roll my own.

For what it's worth, I'm using XeLaTeX to typeset it.

Right now, I've just went with the Europass format (edited in OpenOffice Writer based on the official templates), and sent it both to the US and European companies. I don't think that the Europass format would influence my result that much. After all, it's still a problem of whether a company based in the US or Canada is willing to also give me a work permit there (a.k.a. extra hassle).

As an extra tip, I've checked out Google's Resume writing tips, as seen on their students page. It's nothing out of the ordinary, but it's a good idea to clearly state the main accomplishments and the technologies used in every position you had as a programmer.

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    Sometimes they ask for the resume/CV in a specific format or even multiple formats. Almost all places in the US are expecting it to be as a text file so that it can be ingested by their automated systems. Commented Dec 31, 2012 at 15:55
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    @crh225 Thanks for the feedback. I'll just maintain two versions of the resume, sticking with the Europass one for applications within the EU, and using the US-style one when needed. Commented Jan 7, 2013 at 14:22
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    I've seen very smart people advocate that web professionals should host their resume online and build it using concepts that illustrate their ability (such as with Twitter Bootstrap, jQuery, using Modernizr...etc). Commented Jan 11, 2013 at 20:00
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    Hi Andrei, if you have an answer to this question, consider posting a summary of what led you to the answer as an actual answer to this question so it helps future visitors. Try to include what criteria you used to come to that answer. Good luck! :)
    – jmort253
    Commented Jan 18, 2013 at 21:17
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    I've got some good feedback by using StackOverflow careers for my CV.
    – Guy Guy
    Commented Jan 22, 2013 at 10:48

2 Answers 2


From my experience up to now, mainly in UK:

Many companies will want to parse your CV using an automated tool. Almost all tools are written to use Microsoft word format, this is the reason I have a .doc version of my CV and not a latex one.

Europass format is too verbose for most cases in UK (and maybe other places) so you might consider to check where you apply first. If many organizations would want a Eurpoass format one, you might prefer to have two versions.


After roughly 4 months, here's a basic rundown of what happened:

  • I ended up using the plain old OpenOffice Europass template for my resume, since I kept hitting various issues typesetting the Tex version. Next year I'll probably just re-do it using a format such as timeline-cv as suggested by m0nhawk. I don't really see the point of having the Europass logo all over your resume anyway.

  • I did get interview offers from both European and American companies, so the Europass format wasn't an issue (and I wasn't really expecting it to be, anyway)

  • another neat thing I noticed when I went to the interview for the american company (and they had printed their own copies of my resume) was that since my resume was optimized for A4 and they had printed it on a Letter format, a huge chunk had shifted from the front page leaving a really ugly blank spot. That's something to keep in mind in the future.

  • Microsoft's job site was (IIRC) the only one which actually attempted to scan my PDF data and then allowed me to edit it. It did a horrible job, but I could fix it with not too much effort. I don't even think it was the Europass format's fault.

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