A resume template is one of the most valuable job search tools a job seeker can have. It doesn't have to be fancy. In fact, the best resume template is a simple one without tables or a lot of decorative fonts and formatting.
From the Desk of a Professional Resume Writer
I've been using resume templates for years. I started writing resumes professionally way back in 1989, working with job seekers one-on-one at my computer. It didn't take long for me to realize the value of a good resume template: Efficiency!
Using a resume template cut the time of creating a resume to a fraction of what it would be if I started with a blank screen each time. Repeating the same resume formatting over and over didn't make sense so I created three basic resume templates: chronological, functional, and combination. Then, with easy menu choices and a few edits here and there, I created different resume layouts so each of my job seeking clients had a resume with his or her individual look and feel.
The resume template also served as a checklist of sorts, helping me remember each element of each resume section so my clients got the benefit of all that I had learned from working with my previous clients.
And here's the best part: I was able to give clients their resumes electronically as a MS Word document that they could easily edit and update on their own because the template formatting was so straightforward. This encouraged job seekers to target their resumes each time they applied for new jobs.
As a job seeker writing your own resume, you can get the same benefit — efficiency — from a resume template, especially when the template is a Word document with simple formatting.
What to Look For in a Good Simple Resume Template
A quick Google search for "resume templates" will bring up thousands of results. When choosing among those thousands, use this checklist to be sure you get one that works efficiently for both you and your potential employer.
A good resume template:
- Is created in MS Word, which most people (job seekers and employers) have and are at least somewhat familiar with.
- Does not contain tables! I repeat... No tables! Table are hard to work in and edit unless you're a tables whiz.
- Has easy-to-use formatting features to create indents, bold text, line spaces, and various font sizes to help make your presentation look professional.
- Does not have long paragraphs (no more than three lines long). Rather it offers bullet point formatting to make your info quick to read.
- Has SpellCheck, which helps you avoid one of the deadly mistakes of so many resumes: misspelled words.
- Has easy copy-and-paste ability, allowing you to delete or re-order sections so the most relevant information is first. Warning: copy-and-paste can be difficult to do in a table template unless you're an experienced table user!
Simple Resume Templates Are Employer-Friendly
Once your resume is created, it needs to perform efficiently on the employer's end. A resume prepared by a simple MS Word template:
- Is ready to be uploaded to an employer or job board website.
- Does not get scrambled when sent and received as an email attachment.
- Can be printed to hardcopy so you can take it with you to your job interview.
- Looks good even if it's forwarded several times, let's say from a recruiter to a hiring manager to a supervisor and finally to a panel of several job interviewers.
- Can be opened and read on both Mac and Windows computer platforms because it has the .doc extension.
The Bottom Line
A Word resume template can be a big plus in your job search. It will make your resume creation, editing, and delivery very efficient — a much needed benefit in this challenging job market.