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Resume Templates Unveiled: The Pros and Cons of Using These Tools

Updated: Jul 8, 2023


Want to impress potential employers with your resume, but not sure where to start? Crafting an impressive resume can be overwhelming, but there's a tool that can make the process easier and more efficient: resume templates. These pre-designed layouts can give your resume a professional and polished look, but before you dive in, it's essential to understand the pros and cons of using a template and how to choose the right one for your needs.

Here, we'll explore the benefits and limitations of using a resume template and share practical tips to help you create a standout resume that catches the attention of recruiters.

Pros of using a resume template:

  1. Easy to use: A resume template can save you time and effort by providing a structure for your resume. You just need to fill in the blanks with your information.

  2. Consistent design: A template can help you maintain a professional look and feel throughout your resume, which can make a good impression on potential employers.

  3. Professional appearance: Templates are designed to look polished, which can make you stand out. This can be a good thing if you're not confident in your design skills - a template can help you create a professional-looking resume without the stress of designing it from scratch.

Cons of using a resume template:

  1. Cost: Some resume templates charge a fee for added features or access to certain designs.

  2. Limited customization: While you can customize a template to some extent, you may not be able to make significant changes to the design or layout.

  3. Compatibility issues: Employers may use an Applicant Tracking System (ATS), which is an automated system to scan resumes; if your resume doesn't meet their requirements, it could be automatically rejected.

Tips for choosing a suitable resume template:

  1. Consider your field: Different industries may require different types of resumes. For example, a creative field like graphic design may require a more visually striking resume, while a technical field like engineering may need a more straightforward, text-based format.

  2. Look for customization options: When choosing a template, look for one that offers customization options, such as the ability to change colors, fonts, or layouts. This can help you make your resume unique and stand out.

  3. Choose a reputable source: Make sure you choose a template from a reputable source, such as a job search website or professional association. Many free or low-cost templates are available online, but not all are high-quality or up-to-date. I recommend the free Microsoft Word templates from, they are sleek and minimalist in design and formatted for applicant tracking systems, which almost all major companies use.

  4. Avoid including a headshot: Unless the job specifically requires it, it's best to leave off a headshot and focus on the content and formatting of your resume. By omitting a headshot picture, you can help ensure that you're evaluated solely on your qualifications and experiences.

  5. ATS compatible: Avoid using templates where you’re required to put vital information in text boxes, headers, or footers, as some ATS may not be able to read these sections. Ensure the document is not saved as an image file. You can check this by selecting all, copying, and pasting the text into a plain text document to make sure it's readable. It's also best to avoid using a sidebar and instead opt for a single-column, top-to-bottom layout. Finally, write everything out as text instead of relying on tables or symbols, as pictorial representations like bar charts may not be searchable by the ATS. For more information on ATS-compatible resumes see our Tuesday Talks video on how to optimize your resume for the ATS.

Final thoughts:

Using a resume template can be a helpful tool for creating a professional-looking resume quickly and easily. However, it's important to be aware of the limitations of using a template and to choose one that's right for your field and can be customized to highlight your unique skills and experiences. By following these tips, you can create a standout resume that catches the eye of potential employers.


Are you a Veteran, military spouse, or transitioning service member interested in learning more or getting individualized job search assistance? Please email us at

Michael Robinson is a Career Coach at Easterseals Veteran Staffing Network (VSN), where he assists Veterans, military spouses, and transitioning service members in achieving their employment goals. With over 10 years of experience, Michael has held various roles, including hiring manager, corporate recruiter, and career counselor. Before joining VSN, he worked as a Department of Labor Transition Assistance Program (DOL TAP) Facilitator, where he helped military service members, and their spouses navigate the military-to-civilian transition process.


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