Modern Two Column Resume Templates blog header

If you are a reader of our blog, you know that we repeatedly warn against using many of the two-column resume templates available to job seekers. There are simply too many problems with most of these resume templates.

While the two-column resume layout is and always has been incredibly popular, the vast majority of free two-column resume templates and many of the premium ones too, are constructed using tables. While you might not see the table on the printed resume, or even on your computer screen unless you have “view gridlines” turned on, the tables are used as the foundation for the resume design.  The cells and columns of the table are the easiest way to achieve the precise placement of your resume headers and sections.

So what, you might ask? The problem is that when entered into an applicant tracking system, these complex tables cause big issues in the way the text of your resume is parsed. It can become jumbled and incorrectly categorized in the ATS, negatively impacting keyword searchability and the successful recall of your resume from the database, for the jobs you are most interested in.

Are ATS-Friendly, Two-Column Resumes Possible Using Templates?

But, the fact remains that these two-column resume designs are popular for a reason. They are attractive to look at and easy to read.

That is why we sat down with a mission: to come up with a layout that would allow for ATS-friendly two-column resume templates.

The problem behind this resume format, as already explained, is the way the layout is achieved by using a complex table as the foundation. But almost all modern ATS can handle a simple two-column table with ease.

The four new release templates this month are all designed in the popular two-column style, but they are constructed using only simple tables and layouts. While it is impossible to guarantee that any resume will perform well in all applicant tracking systems, these two-column resume templates should work well in most.

You can learn more in this video:

4 New-Release Two-Column Resume Template Options


Exquisite is a beautiful resume template designed in the two-column format by using a very simple two-column table on the first page. This resume is formatted in what is known as the combination resume format. This makes it a great choice to use as a career changer resume or for anyone who has relevant experience that is either not work-related or was gained early in their career, that they wish to bring to the forefront of the resume.

We’ve also included writing tips and prompts all throughout the resume. This makes writing your resume fast and easy! The collection offers other coordinating career marketing documents, including a biography template, resume addendum template, references, and a cover letter template.

Executive Impressions

The two-column resume template in the Executive Impressions Collection was created for a client of our resume writing practice who loved this format and came to us with an example of what she wanted. Unfortunately, the resume example she gave us was 100% not ATS compatible. But we put our thinking caps on and came up with a way to create a similarly designed, but still ATS-compatible resume. The original resume example also included a headshot on the first page which we also highly recommend against; especially in the U.S. job market. In place of the headshot, we designed a place for a stylish monogram. The resulting two-column senior executive resume template is beautiful!


Designed to work well as a college admissions resume, the one-page, two-column resume template in the Admissions Collection would work well for any high school student, college student, or anyone looking for a template to create their first resume. While you could expand this resume to two pages if you wish, this design will really work best as a one-page resume. The template includes lots of prompts and tips to help write a resume even if you have little or no traditional work experience.


The two-column resume design in the Credalise Collection provides a resume template with space for references. This format is structured a bit differently than the other two-column resume templates because it uses no table at all. Instead, the column appearance is created with a text box on the first page with space devoted to your reference excerpts. This text box will be viewed as a graphic in an ATS and skipped over. This means that none of the text in it will count as “keywords” in your resume. So just make sure you repeat any important keywords in the body of your resume.

About the Author: Michelle Dumas

Michelle Dumas is the founder and CEO of Distinctive Career Services, one of the internet's longest-standing and most respected professional resume writing firms. Michelle is a 6X certified and 7X award-winning resume writer and career consultant. Michelle designed and created all of the templates in the Distinctive Resume Templates Collections found at

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