I recently got an email from someone asking what I thought about them using a resume template. Here is a clip from my response:

“In my experience, resume templates fail MOST Of the time. The reason being is that they offer nothing special or unique that truly stands out. When you use a template, it looks like all the other resumes. You’re missing out on the perfect opportunity to shine”

Resume templates can be a great tool for candidates who aren’t computer savvy or those seeking entry-level positions. If you aren’t familiar with Microsoft Office and unsure about formatting then a template can give you a sleek design you wouldn’t otherwise be able to achieve.  It can be a bonus for entry-level positions because others may not be going through the effort, giving you that extra Wow factor.

One of the most common mistakes with using a predesigned resume template is that people often leave the suggested wording in all or part of the resume and it doesn’t cater to the specific job description or highlight the candidate in any way. Worse is when the fill-in-the-blank fields are left untouched making it obvious it’s a template and shows poor attention to detail.

If you’re applying for an executive level or management position I strongly encourage you to go with a customized professional resume that will appeal to prospective employers.  If you can’t do it yourself, hire someone! That small investment has the potential to land you the position of your dreams.

Whether you go with a resume template or create one of your own, save and deliver as a PDF document to the employer. Other file types can change formats depending on the type of computer and software the employer is using making your resume appear ‘whacky’ on the screen. PDF format preserves your intended layout.

The job market is highly competitive and it’s important that your resume captures the attention of the hiring manager and addresses their specific needs.