Don’t Use a Resume Template if Want to Land a New Job

Ever wonder why you don’t get called up for an interview? It could be that you are using a resume or CV based on a template. Your resume probably gets about 5-10 seconds before the person screening it decides to read on or chuck it in the bin. HR people, recruiters, and hiring managers see hundreds of resumes every day and nothing bores them more than another template resume.

The goal of your resume is to stand out from all the other job seekers and be picked for an interview; if you are using the same template as all the other hopefuls you will achieve neither objective. Still not convinced? Here are a few reasons not to use a resume template:

Same as everyone else:

Employers have developed a trained eye for spotting resume templates. Recruiters can spot them a mile away. The two benefits of using a resume are that it requires little time and effort to write your document. Basically, it’s the lazy way of doing it. What type of signal do you think these copy-and-paste skills send to the hiring manager? I would think that this applicant if hired, would always look for quick and dirty ways of solving problems. I might be cynical here but can you afford to risk that?

A lot of the templates out there are substandard:

Who created all the templates on the Internet in the first place? Nobody knows, but the templates are highly recommended and are supposedly written by an expert. Whoever these ‘experts’ are shall remain one of mankind’s great mysteries; I can only establish that most of the templates are very poor. Unless you are in the career industry, telling which resumes are good, bad, and ugly will be very difficult and not advisable.

You are selling yourself short:

Surely you deserve the best resume there is and not just a run-of-the-mill template ripped off from the web? By really taking the time to make your own resume, you will enhance your life skills as you have to master writing sales copy, creating a salesy layout and a format that is pleasing to the eye. It will take time to make a great resume but the finished product can be used throughout your career (just update it every now and then!).

So what is a job seeker to do?

Here’s my plan. Go out and Google resumes in your field, both templates and resumes from actual people who have posted their documents publicly. Save up to 10 decent ones and start reading and getting a feel for the language, layout, and formats. Then delete all the saved resumes and start with your own from a blank canvas. I assure you that you will be full of inspiration from others and instead of copying what they have written, you will now cherry-pick their components and put them on paper with your own words. Writing a resume from scratch is hard work but it’s doable for all of us and one thing is certain: it will get noticed.

If I really can’t do it?

You can try to give your resume a complete makeover. Mash it up, throw in some synonyms, change the spacing, type fonts, headers, and footers. Make it look original and hope it passes muster with the employer. Or if you are ready to spend some money, work with a professional resume writer that can put together a new and original document for you.

Bottom line:

Using a template will never make you stand out and chances are your application will be cut short due to your resume being the same as every other job seeker’s. I say take charge of your job search efforts and invest some time into creating an original document that sells you effectively and puts you in a pole position for the next job!

Do you use a template and has it got you any interviews? Have you created your own resume and what are the results of your applications? Share your thoughts in the comments.

By Jörgen Sundberg

Founder of Undercover Recruiter & CEO of Link Humans, home of The Employer Brand Index.