A Guide to Creating a Google Docs CV Template
Written by Mike Potter, Author • Last updated on 6 May 2024

A Guide to Creating a Google Docs CV Template

Crafting a winning CV is much more than a simple typing task. For maximum impact, it’s essential to create a visually attractive document that makes best use of the available space. Headings, colour accents and subtle design elements can all make a difference. Thankfully, Google Docs can do a lot of these design jobs for you, with their extensive CV templates. In this article, we provide a guide to creating your CV in Google Docs.

Pros and Cons of Using Google Docs for CV Creation

Creating a CV in Google Docs can have many advantages. As one of the most used cloud-based word-processing apps, Google Docs is easy to use and offers some great tools to help you create an eye-catching CV. However, there are also some drawbacks to using this well-known document-creating application. Take a look below to see the pros and cons of using Google Docs to produce your CV.

Advantages of Creating a CV in Google Docs

Google has built the success of Docs on the back of offering a free, accessible and feature-heavy word-processor. It's part of a wider suite of useful, free apps for work and admin. Using Google Docs to create your CV is a great option because it’s free to use and offers many features usually reserved far more expensive software. Google Docs is also cloud-based. This means as long as you have a computer, a browser and an internet connection, you can access Google Docs. You can even access, edit, share and send your documents via a smartphone app, so your CV is always accessible.

Another advantage of using Google Docs for your CV is its functionality and ease of use. If you’re familiar with Microsoft Word, making the transition to Google Docs is very straightforward. It includes many of the same features of its more established cousin. You can create documents in many file types in Google Docs, including Microsoft Word-compatible formats and PDFs. It’s also easy to share documents via email, allowing other people to access, review and edit your CV. This makes it easy to receive feedback.

Disadvantages of Using Google Docs for Your CV

While it can be convenient to use Google Docs for creating your CV, there are also some drawbacks. With its wide usage and limited number of CV templates, using Google Docs risks creating similar-looking CVs to other candidates. The purpose of adding design elements to your CV is for it to stand out from the crowd. As such, you could encounter problems using Google Docs owing to its widespread usage.

Additionally, Google Docs is somewhat constricted in the additional sections and customisations it offers. After choosing your CV template, that’s pretty much how your CV is going to look, and pretty much what the content will include, unless you embark on some heavy editing. Editing the document away from the original layout and content of the template can be tricky and even negate the benefits of using a template in the first place.

While Google Docs does offer some professional-looking templates, and it’s fairly easy to use, there are specialist CV builders that can do the same thing, but better. CVwizard has a range of easy-to-use CV templates that offer flexibility and control when creating your CV. You can create and save different CVs for different types of jobs, and export your document to PDF when you need to send it. CVwizard offers a strong alternative to creating your CV in Google Docs.

Expert Tip:

Google Docs paragraph styles menu gives you control over the look and feel of your document, at the touch of a button. Use heading styles to identify your headings in the document, and you can update the styling of every heading at once. Making sure each section of text in your CV has the appropriate style (normal text, heading 1, heading 2 etc.) also makes your CV more accessible.

Using Google Docs CV Templates

Google Docs currently offers five templates to choose from, and it’s easy to select one and start building your CV. Firstly, head to Google Drive or Google Docs. Sign in with your Google account or sign up for one if you don’t already have a login.

The five CV templates currently offered by Google Docs are ‘Swiss’, ‘Serif’, ‘Coral’, ‘Spearmint’ and ‘Modern Writer’. You can access these from Google Drive by clicking on ‘New’, then moving your mouse to ‘Google Docs’. Hover your cursor over the arrow on the right and click ‘From a template’. From Google Docs’ home screen, you can select templates from the ‘Start a new document’ menu across the top of the screen.

Once you select your template, a new document will open, pre-filled with the layout you’ve chosen. The template includes all the headings and sections for your CV, along with dummy text you can replace with your text.

The templates provided by Google Docs aren't fixed, and you can edit them like you would any other document. You can move sections around simply by selecting the text you want to move, and dragging and dropping it into your desired position. If you don’t like the new placement, use the ‘undo’ tool to place it back in its original position.

Google’s templates use paragraph styles for the different types of text throughout the document. It’s important to be mindful of these when editing, as they’re important for accessibility. You can use paragraph styles to change the look and feel of one heading, and then apply it to the whole document. Do this from the dropdown styles menu (this appears in th emain toolbar as ‘Normal text’, Heading 1, Heading 2, or whichever text style you’re currently working in, with a small downward-facing arrow next to it).

Creating a CV in Google Docs Without a Template

Another option to using the CV templates provided by Google Docs is to create your document from scratch. This gives you total control over how your document looks, and could help it stand out from other applicants. However, it’s also a far more intensive process. Follow these steps to create your CV from scratch using Google Docs.

  • Open a blank document: start with a blank document to give yourself the ultimate control over the layout and design of your CV.
  • Select columns, adjust margins: decide whether you want your CV in a single column or a two-column design, and adjust using the 'Format' - 'Columns' menu. Play with the width of your columns and margins to find an aesthetically pleasing layout that’s not too cramped.
  • Select your font for body text: choose a font that’s professional, yet readable. The font you select makes a big difference to the tone of the document.
  • Decide your sections: choose which sections to include in your CV. Adding optional sections such as certifications, languages, hobbies, interests and volunteer work can add depth and colour to your CV, but they also take up space.
  • Create your headings and adjust their styles: create your headings and place them where you want within your document. Utilise Google Docs’ paragraph styles to create different styles for 'Heading 1', 'Heading 2' and 'Heading 3', and use these throughout your document. You can adjust text size, font and colour. Using paragraph styles creates consistent styling that helps boost the accessibility of your document.
  • Use bullet points: use bullet points throughout your document to help keep your CV concise and relevant. Every bullet point should directly refer to something mentioned in the job description.
  • Tailor your CV for each job application: create a base CV and use it as a template for every job application. Tailor your CV for each individual application by copying your original CV and updating it to reflect the job description of the role you’re applying for.
  • Use impactful language: a beautiful CV won’t make much difference if the content itself is bland. Use strong action verbs to show your impact and achievements, and to grab the attention of the reader.
  • Proofread your CV: before you export and send your Google Docs CV, use the application’s spell checker and proofread it thoroughly. Correct any errors, as these can have a negative impact on your chances.
  • Export your CV or share it within Google Docs: once you’re happy with your document, you can export it as a Word document, as a PDF or various other file types. You can also share it with other people for feedback, or to edit your document.
"As one of the most used cloud-based word-processing apps, Google Docs is easy to use and offers some great tools to help you create an eye-catching CV."

Saving, Downloading, and Sharing Your Google Docs CV

Google Docs automatically saves your documents as you work on them, so you don’t need to manually save it like you might in some other word processors. You can undo your work using the undo and redo arrows, or visit earlier versions by clicking the button that looks like a clock. This is usually in the menu at the top-right of the screen.

Once you’re happy with your CV, click ‘File’, and then ‘Download’. Select the file type you’d like to download the document as, and then follow the dialogue box to complete the export. You can also share your document via the ‘File’ menu, or by clicking the ‘Share’ button in the top-right of the screen.

Key Takeaways for Your Google Docs CV

Selecting a Google Docs template for your CV can help your CV to catch the eye of employers, without the need for tweaking layouts, settings and formatting. Just be mindful of the limitations of the templates, and be aware that they’re widely used, so your CV may not stand out as much as you’d hoped. CVwizard provides a simple, straightforward alternative to creating your CV using Google Docs. You can access a range of professional CV templates and useful CV articles and tips. Sign up and follow the simple steps to create a CV that makes an impact with employers.

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Mike Potter
Mike Potter
Mike Potter is an experienced copywriter specialising in careers and professional development. He uses extensive knowledge of workplace culture to create insightful and actionable articles on CV writing and career pathways.

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