A Step-by-Step Guide to Designing a nice CV with MS Word/Canva

Create a winning CV with our step-by-step guide to designing a professional CV with MS Word or Canva. Customize your font, color scheme, and structure for maximum impact. Showcase your skills, education, and experience to stand out from the competition. Whether you're a recent graduate or an experienced professional, our advice will help you create a CV that gets noticed by potential employers. Start designing your CV today!



3/2/20234 min read

Why is CV design important?

Your CV/ resume is your first impression to an employer, which could open up or kill the possibility of an interview.

To build a perfect CV, the most pivotal element is the content — quantify and beautify your work experience, education and qualifications to constitute a professional image. If you apply for an ibank or a MNC, your CV will probably be first screened by an AI. That’s where resume keyword hit kicks in. Feel free to learn more about how to write good CV content in our future articles in this publication.

Now I want to focus on the next most crucial element, your CV design. In an interview, a busy VP would usually glance through your CV for the first time while listening to your 2-minute self-introduction. That’s why your CV/ resume has to be eye-catching, sharp and clear at a glance to leave an impression in 2 minutes.

Remember, your CV/ resume is your first piece of written work to show your future boss how detailed-minded and well-organised you are. An old-fashioned CV like the below one looks a bit dull and lack of creativity, which I guess is not what you want to be associated with.

How to design your own CV?

To build a good-looking CV/ resume, you don’t need to be any professional designer.

The easiest way is to write it on MS Word. While you can do it from scratch on a blank page, I suggest you use a CV templte in Resumes and Cover Letters in MS Word.

There are 102 CV templates. You can easily edit the CV template like how you normally work on MS Word.

Everyone knows how to use MS Word. It saves you time from learning how to use a new interface. But MS Word only provides around 100 templates. Your interviewer may have seen it dozens of times unless you edited it drastically. For more CV template choices, you may also consider Canva.

A free CV building tool — CANVA

Canva is operating under a “freemium” model, which is free+premium. You can register an account on Canva for free. Most of the resources are free to use, except for some materials with a little crown logo, you’ll need to pay and upgrade to a Pro account.

While it’s most famous for creating powerpoint slides, posters and instagram posts, you can also build a CV on Canva. In the Templates category, select Business and then Resume, and you’ll see thousands of CV templates.

Press Uploads on the left hand side — you can just drag and drop an image file from your laptop. It will be immediately uploaded and stored in your Canva account. Or, press Google Drive on the left hand side — you can connect your Google Drive with Canva. In both ways, you can freely use your own images (like your recent photo) on the CV.

Small Hack: Left click the original photo in the circle on the CV template with your mouse, press Delete on your keyboard, and then drag your own photo to that circle. Then, your own profile picture will be directly fit into the circle as below!

CANVA has a user-friendly interface, which may be even easier to use than MS Word. You can easily modify the colours, font types and sizes, and it has an “auto-fix” function to help you with the neat alignment of the graphics and text boxes.

You may also utilise some flat icons from Canva’s resource library.

Small Hack: Click Elements on your left hand side, select Graphics, input relevant keywords to search for your favourite flat icons, drag the icon to the CV template, and you may edit its size and colour to make it look like the below.

Finally, let’s finish with some final touch — Rearrange the text boxes and graphics, or change the font types and colours.

In 10–15 minutes, you have designed your own resume. This CV design will likely leave a dynamic and well-organised impression for your interviewer.