For many, especially for those just starting out, creating a resume is not the easiest task. Maybe a resume was needed in a pinch, so the use of a website or software to make a resume quickly was appealing. To test out the viability of using resume templates, I used a few different options and compared them to my own, free wrote resume. Simple as the idea of employing a template seems at the time, I am here to try and dissuade you from taking that route.
My biggest pet peeve from resumes built from a template is seeing all of the white space wasted on… being white space. There is a good number of things that never seem to be spaced well. The header with your name and contact info might be too large. There might be an awkward half space between your separate pieces of info within one job experience. The section headings can take up an inordinate amount of space. All of the information could be using the right two-thirds of the page, while the left third of the page is blank, or vice versa. Overall, the unclean look of the spacing is an easy tell that a template was used.
Templates often include different font sizes, lines, and italics. Where some of these touches can look pleasing to the eye, there are reasons why they should be avoided. Different font sizes can look alright, but they makes the resume look busy. Having a single font size throughout creates uniformity. The only time I find different font sizes to be reasonable is for the name at the top and maybe section headings (if you do not wish to use all caps or small caps, section headings can be made 1pt. larger.) Lines are used to separate sections; however, a line is not recommend, because it takes up unneeded space. The section headings should clarify where sections are without a line. Italics can look good if done right, but you never know when a version will not. Italics have very little spacing between letters that can be unclear if printed with a low quality printer. In addition, if your resume is scanned by an employer, the italics might not register as a word in word recognition software.
With different ways for information to be formatted, templates often do not relay the details well. Templates might display the details of experiences in big, chunky, paragraphs. While the needed information is present, it is not visually pleasing to be confronted with a block of text in the resume. Breaking details down into bulleted lists or easily separated sentences will make for an easier read.
As mentioned before, I tested a few different templates. When I entered all of the information I have on my current, one-page resume into templates, the document turned into a two page disaster; every time. This was true even when templates did not use all of my information! The point is, take the time to create a free-hand resume draft. Keep it up to date by checking details a couple times a month. Have a master copy with all of your experience that you can cut information from to make a quick, one-page document. In the end, the time spent keeping prepared will be worth the effort.
Of Possible Interest:
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- How to customize your resume for a job