Resume templates are extremely easy to find on the internet, and even MS Word offers a variety of resume templates in their project menu (in fact, I used one to create my first resume in college). A resume template may help you get going if you are creating a resume from scratch, however they are definitely not designed with you in mind. Resumes have evolved into so much more than a document that simply outlines when and where someone has worked. In order to be successful in today’s market, a resume must be a marketing tool that SELLS a job seeker to their next employer. A one-size-fits-all template will not achieve that for you.
When working from a template, it’s too easy to fall into the trap of making your work history fit into the template’s framework, when it should be the other way around. There are many templates out there – including the one I used – that utilize tables, columns, and other elements that are difficult to manipulate and employ outdated strategies such as objective statements and “References Available Upon Request.” Additionally, templates are often over-the-top in their design and not web-friendly. Don’t let this distract you from the most critical part of your resume – the content.
Your specific objective must drive your entire resume’s strategy and format, so it is highly unlikely that a general template will meet your exact criteria. For example, one resume format may work well for an entry-level candidate, but fail for a professional with a steady work history ready to take the next step in their career.
If you are using a resume template to create your very first resume, let it serve as a guide only. Look for strong resume examples for professionals in your field and with similar career histories. Research professional resume writing strategies and formats that best suit your background and objective. Resist the temptation to let a template do all the work if you want to land your next great opportunity.