Should I Use a Resume Template?

Should I use a resume template?

The answer is no.

In this video, I’m going to explain why it isn’t in your best interest to use a resume template, and what resume structure works best.

You may have landed on this video because you were searching for a resume template. I’m hoping that I can persuade you NOT to actually continue pursuing a template, and instead create your own resume in Microsoft Word, but more on that later.

You may have landed here too because you’re hoping this is a tutorial to replicate the Marissa Mayer resume that went viral awhile back. Sorry to burst your bubble, but that wasn’t Marissa’s real resume, it was a marketing play for a large resume mill

So the Marissa Mayer like resumes? Save your time.

The fancy templates that you see for sale on Etsy? Save your money.

The pretty templates that you see for free on Microsoft Word and Canva? Save yourself a headache.

Don’t use them.

Let’s talk about WHY resume templates are a bad idea. 

First, they generally aren’t ATS compliant.

From often being a multi-panel or multi-column structure to file formats that are images, there are many reasons why these templates don’t work.

And this comes as no surprise when we realize that the creators of these templates are often designers, not resume writers or people who have experience hiring. They don’t know the ins and outs of what works with the resume screening software.

Let’s take a look at some of these types of resumes on Canva and Microsoft Word. 

When we take a high level look at these resumes, they look pretty at first, but when we dig deeper, we see, multiple panels, information in places that they aren’t expected to be like contact information in the left margin. We see skills measured, and how can we even assess our own skills anyway.

Again, these are created by designers. And the designers’ goal is to create something attractive and eye-catching, which brings me to my next point…

Pretty resumes look, feel, and often read, more junior than your actual career level.

Pretty resumes are like Kim Kardashian all looks no substance. 

They also give off a smoke and mirrors or like a baffle with bullshit factor. 

When your resume is overly dressed up it looks like you’re trying to compensate for a lack of skills or experience. 

Obviously that’s not the impression we want to give. 

So instead we want to make sure we’re focusing on the content of our resume and making sure it’s full of compelling stories that back up our qualifications, showcase results, and demonstrate the value that we can bring to the role. 

We do that through a focus on writing, not design. 

The next reason to avoid buying a template is because they are actually difficult to read. 

Humans read left to right. For sure our eyes bounce around when we’re trying to scan for the important information. But in order for recruiters to be able to scan fast, they need the content of your resume delivered in an expected format. 

These templates don’t rush your content up the way recruiters expect it to be served. This creates unnecessary work for them and by that point, you’ve lost them and they’re onto the next. 

You really run the risk of not properly filling in the resume by possibly leaving template info. 

Recruiters don’t like it very much when your resume reads insert bullets here when it should be giving them some actual accomplishments from your career. 

So what should we do instead?

Check out my videos on resume formatting. I show you how to build the structure of your resume. The scaffolding if you will. 

This is not a template but a guide to build your resume in Word, on your own. So that you can focus on writing your resume and writing it well. 

Kamara Toffolo

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