A good resume template can be an affordable option for job seekers who want to impress hiring managers with a custom-looking, eye-appealing design that stands out.
As a 25-year veteran in the professional resume writing industry, I want to be clear that the best resumes always begin with great content. If your resume content is anything less-than-powerful, I highly recommend that you schedule a free Discovery Consultation with my team, at Distinctive Career Services.
However, if you have an existing resume and are happy with the content, but want to modernize it with an updated, eye-catching design, your best choice may be a professional resume template.
But, before you buy a professional resume template, STOP!
Not all resume templates are equal, and you need to understand why.
If you buy the wrong resume template, it can have a devastating impact on the success of your job search.
Read on to learn what to look for and what to avoid when buying a resume template.
Non-ATS-Friendly Resume Templates
Let’s start with one of the worst mistakes I see made with resume templates.
If your resume isn’t created in an ATS-friendly format, a hiring manager may never even have the chance to see it.
Virtually all recruiting firms and Fortune 500 corporations and a growing number of smaller organizations use applicant tracking systems to sort, rank, and store the resumes they receive.
When your resume isn’t formatted in a way that is compatible with these ATS systems, it will become jumbled and inaccurately entered into the system, and this is if you are lucky. While it is rare, in the worst cases, it may not be entered at all.
Can you imagine spending six months in a job search, sending what you really believed was your carefully written and beautifully designed resume created from a template, for more than 100 job opportunities?
You know you were perfectly qualified for most of them. But you never received even a single call.
What if, now nine months into your search, completely frustrated and dejected, your self-confidence flagging, you learn that your resume is not ATS compatible. You didn’t get a call because it was becoming completely jumbled when entered into applicant tracking systems. Nobody even saw it!
Sadly, this is what could happen if you buy a resume template that is not ATS-friendly. And guess what? MOST of the resume templates available for sale are NOT ATS compatible.
While I have blurred out the details, a quick search for ATS resume templates will bring you to all sorts of non-ATS-compatible resume templates created in a columnar format such as the ones you see here.
Sure, they might look “pretty,” but a pretty resume won’t do you any good if nobody ever sees it because it has been rejected from the ATS. Columns like this are not ATS compatible.
Another common problem with resume templates are the way the resume headers are constructed. This post about creating resume headers explains this issue in detail.
Distinctive Resume Templates are different. When you use our templates, you can feel confident that your resume format is ATS-friendly.
That is because all of the Distinctive Resume Templates have been professionally designed with the goal of making them eye-catching and distinctive, while also ensuring that they are as ATS-friendly as possible.
We also provide instructions with our templates, to help you maintain the ATS compatibility and keyword optimization.
On the other hand, while you might find some ATS compatible resume templates on the internet, they are usually standard, boring, cookie-cutter-looking documents that do nothing to help you stand out.
You do not need to make an either-or choice when you buy a resume template. I promise you that your resume can be beautifully designed and ATS friendly.
Even elements such as a content text box, a graphic, or a simple table can be used IF the designer knows what they are doing.