Should you use a Resume template and what to look for

Ok, you’ve seen a new position advertised and it’s the job you want! You get excited and a whole lot of butterflies inside, reach for your resume and adjust it just so it matches the jobs description criteria nice and snug. Oh damn, wait, we’ve gone a step too far, let’s get you a resume template first.

Resume templates have a bad rep on the internet. I constantly see, “Don’t use the format everyone else will use” and comments like “You’re squeezing yourself into a box that may not be a good fit for you”.

Food for thought here, most job seekers create their own resumes and every resume I’ve ever received or seen are often black and white and more than often, look all the same. They might have highlights of colour here and there (which is moving in the right direction) and perhaps on nice paper but generally, they look all the same anyway. Isn’t this staying in a box in some respects?

What a professionally created resume template will actually do is put you into the minority, as previously mentioned, most people create their own.

Let’s make a Resume Template Checklist shall we?

  1. Customisable

  2. Easy to read and well formatted

  3. Is short (Ideally one page)

  4. Has some colour and visual aspects to the resume

  5. Free or cheap

It’s not a long checklist but to have a solid resume template, you’ll be needing all five.

There is no point in buying a template that you need to go back and back and back and back to the designer you bought it from, because they have made it in photoshop for example and you don't know how to use photoshop. Come on, there’s no time for this. You need a template you can customise yourself and update as needed, as well as reformatting and moving things around.  

There can’t be any weird fonts, has to be a minimum font size of ten and has to be clear where each section starts and finish.

You shouldn’t have pages and pages in your resume, no recruiter will look through that. I will be writing a blog post specifically to discuss this but for now let me just say that's why you have a linkedin profile. Go nuts on linkedin and include all of your experience you want employers to know about. On your resume however, include the most relevant experience you have to the applied job and bullet points or a small paragraph underneath each relevant job you’ve held.

This is 2016 and generally speaking, there will only be more and more competition for jobs. You need to set yourself apart from the job seekers that are only using black and white and you need to highlight the sections of your resume you want employers to notice. Not comfortable with colour? Maybe start with colouring the titles of your resume like ‘education’ and ‘experience’.

Ofcourse it has to be cheap. Some job seekers may be happy to pay $99 for a template but most will be looking for free or cheap templates and I would second that. I don’t really want to spend $99 on a resume template.

Oh and a cheeky number six checklist item (just for you diligent readers that read the full article): pick the one you like the look of. A resume is ultimately an advertisement of what you do and how you can help the employer meet their staffing needs. Do you see many advertisements that are just ugly? If you do, I would question how effective they are but my point is, make sure your resume looks good.

So, you have found a resume template you like and meets all of our checklist items. NOW we can embrace those warm butterfly feelings we had at the start of this article, make sure our resume fits the advertised job description nice and snuggly and apply for that job.

Good luck getting that job! If this was helpful, please share it. If you have any questions or anything to add, please contact us. 


Harry Latham