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Don’t Use a Resume Template

by Sarah Wilkinson, Class of ’17

Your resume can have as few as 5-10 seconds to stand out to a recruiter before they decide to read on or throw it in the trash. That means you have 5-10 seconds to make an impression, and the best way to do that is by being your original self. And that means don’t use a resume template.

Most templates that you find on the web are not high quality and you run the risk of having a resume that looks just like everyone else’s. If you’re not creating your resume from scratch, you’re missing out on the opportunity to put your flare in it. One sure-fire way to get passed over for a job is to seem duller than the other candidates, and if your resume isn’t even appealing enough to be picked from the pile, you won’t have the chance to show your personality in an interview.

Here are some other reasons you never want to use a resume template:

  1. You can do better than a template. You’re a talented individual, college educated and going far in life. If you have no idea where to start, make an appointment with your career coach; that’s what they’re here for!
  2. Templates miss out on the details. Sure, the recruiter will get to know about you based on what experience you’ve had, but also how you present that information. Templates are often bad at spacing, inconsistent with fonts, and thrown-together looking. By presenting your information in a neat way that feels right to you, you’re showing the recruiter who you are and that you can be professional.
  3. Templates scream, “I take shortcuts!” Is this the message you want to send to a potential employer?
  4. Most templates are not designed by experts. This means you’re putting your professional future into someone else’s unskilled hands. Know that old saying, “Don’t trust everything you find on the Internet?” Resume templates are the same way.
  5. Templates show that you didn’t spend very much time on your resume. Again, this isn’t the message you want to be sending.

You get the message. Use your resume as the opportunity it is to show recruiters that you’re professional, tech-savvy, and invested in your own success.

Sources: The Ladders, UMD Careers, The Undercover Recruiter