Be Cautious of Resume Templates

by Alyssa Perkins-Chatterton, Administrative Assistant

Your resume can have as few as 5-10 seconds to impress a recruiter before they decide to move on. That means you have a short window of opportunity to really wow the recruiter and make them want to interview you. The best way to do this is to showcase a clean, readable document that highlights all of your great experiences.

Most templates you come across are poor quality and you run the risk of choosing one with a terrible layout and bad readability. Many times templates miss out on the details. They utilize bad spacing, inconsistent fonts and have an overall messy look to them. The templates to stay away from are your everyday Microsoft Word (or any other program), “click and enter information” templates. Those templates are impossible to edit and the formatting is always different. Associate Director, Anne Marie Gercke tells students their “resumes should be a fluid document that you change often and tailor for specific jobs.” Working within a template is difficult because it makes changing anything in the document next to impossible. Our office provides a resume tip packet with examples of resumes with great formatting and layout. You can use this guide to find a style that you like and make it your own. You want your experience to be presented in a neat and clean way, this will ultimately show the recruiter who you are and that you are professional.

Just one more reason to avoid templates is the fact that they give the notion that you aren’t spending too much time on the presentation of your skills. You want recruiters to look at your resume and be impressed not only by your experiences but also by your presentation. Don’t sell yourself short by presenting your amazing experiences in a lack-luster template resume. Showcase all the great things that you have done in a way that is yours and will hold the attention of a recruiter.

To sum it all up, be cautious of how you are presenting your skills. Think of your resume as an always evolving document of your professional experiences. You want that document to be the best portrayal of why you are the right fit for a certain job. Most templates are not designed by experts. Don’t put your professional future in the hands of an unknown template designer. Utilize Career Services and all of our resources to ensure that you are sending out your best resume possible.

Helpful Resources:

Resume/Cover Letter Critique Services– Career Services offers resume and cover letter critique services. Visit our website to see how to submit a document for review based on what school you are in.

Online Resume Workshop– Our office hosts multiple resume workshops each semester but if you are unable to physically attend one of those events you can utilize this online workshop.

Career Services Website: Resume Section– This page of our website has resources such as guides, tips and even resume samples for Undergraduate students as well as resources specific to different populations such as Graduate students, Design students, School of Engineering- Master’s students, School of Nursing students, GSE students, and Social Policy & Practice students.


Author: Alyssa Perkins-Chatterton

Alyssa Perkins-Chatterton is the administrative assistant for the College of Arts & Sciences team in Career Services.