Education Career Services

July 7, 2009

Resume Templates

crowdI was flipping through a career development textbook at a local high school this weekend and landed on the resume writing tab.  The first step was to, “identify an appealing resume template in MS Word.”  It proceeded to explain how to fill out the template.  I was aghast.  Is that what they’re teaching these days?  Then I thought about it and realized I shouldn’t be suprised.  I see seasoned professionals with template resumes all the time.

Throw your templates out.  Right now.  Delete them from your computer.

A resume must be unique to you.  It must make you stand out and be noticed.  Templates, by definition, are common, universal tools that make you look like everyone else. 

It isn’t enough to know where you place information; you must know why you place it there.  Strategy requires knowledge of the “why” and the “how” not just the “where.”  A good looking document isn’t enough; you must know what the reader needs to know and present it in an ordered fashion.

What kinds of things does a hiring manager need to know about you to call you for an interview?

Asking yourself that question is the beginning of a great resume that is uniquely you. 

So, what does the hiring manager need to know?  Your feedback can help the other readers of this blog.

Rob Swanson

Managing Writer – Career Services International,; Education Career Services, www.


  1. Glad to see a fellow “template hater” – they can work if you absolutely NEED something in the next ten minutes, but otherwise all the template does is let the hiring manager know you know how to borrow someone elses’ work. If I want a unique, creative individual, I move the templates off to the side and focus on the resumes that are unique, creative and individualized!

    Comment by Phil Tripp — July 16, 2009 @ 12:34 am

  2. Indeed, fortune favors the prepared. Always best to have a strong resume at all times to prevent that last ditch effort. In fact, in many cases, turning in a strong resume after the posting has closed is better than turning in a half-hearted effort. I recently hired a candidate who mailed her resume in after I’d shut down the posting.
    So glad to hear you’re teaching the right things at Westchester, Phil!


    Comment by careersi — July 16, 2009 @ 12:51 am

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