Thursday, March 7, 2013

The Dangers of Using a Resume Template

For someone sitting down to write their resume it is natural to want to use a template in order to give themselves a starting place. You can find templates online, in sample books, in resume building software, and even in applications such as Microsoft Word. Although resume templates can help you launch the resume writing process, there are several negative aspects of using these templates that can actually hinder your job search success.

They Make it Harder to Stand Out From the Crowd
If you were competing with three other candidates that used the same resume template, how would you make yourself stand apart? Now expand this scenario to being in a pile with hundreds of candidates. The ones that seem similar to the others are going to be assumed to be "carbon copies" of the others, making them less likely to be read.

Studies show that when the resume is looked at by human eyes (as opposed to an online parsing program) they make a decision about whether or not to read your resume further within the first 10 to 15 seconds. When you use a template program, your resume tends to blend into the crowd and will not captivate the reader's interest.

They Eliminate the Strategic Marketing Aspect
There is no exact science to resume writing. There are no rules that say "write your resume exactly like this." A good resume is approached very strategically.

Where you locate sections (or whether you include them) on the resume depends on their strategic importance in your job search. For example, a template will always put the education section toward the bottom of the resume. If you are in a career transition and your education is one of your key selling factors, it needs to be moved toward the beginning of your resume. This is a change that many templates will not allow.

They Depersonalize the Resume
There is no one else that offers your unique blend of experience, skills, accomplishments, knowledge, and training. Therefore, your resume must be the way you distinguish yourself from other candidates.

Your personality, personal traits, and personal style should be reflected in your resume in a creative, yet professional, manner. What sets you apart from the crowd does not always fit into the confines of a template that is someone else's idea of what a resume should look like.

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