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How to Choose the Right Resume Template (+Examples)

How To Choose The Right Resume Template

Recruiters, HR staff, and hiring managers are busy people and really can scan your resume in around 10 seconds. From 100 submissions, they’ll actually read about 15%, re-read half of those, and finally select perhaps 4 candidates for interview. Using a professionally designed resume template ensures you survive that process and win interviews.

Benefits of a professional resume template

For you, content is always king. A professionally designed resume template lets you focus on your key skills and experience.

  • Save Time – a template does the hard work on design, layout, and formatting for you.
  • Relevance – organizing your information correctly demonstrates professionalism.
  • Value – a professional template buys you the creative freedom to show your career journey.

For the reader, efficiency is king. Are you the one with what it takes to do this role? A resume template ensures your true value stands right out.

  • Positivity – a clear and open style creates optimism, not dismay at slabs of endless text.
  • Scannability – a professionally designed structure directs first attention onto key points.
  • Depth-correct formatting draws hiring managers into the supporting details of your career.
  • Vision – correctly steering the reader’s journey ensures you tick all of the boxes.

How to choose the right resume template

A resume template will do a lot of heavy lifting for you but must be professionally produced to do so successfully. Consequently, there is a marked difference between free and professionally designed templates. The former is built by graphic designers using styling to grab attention. The latter use styling to direct attention and are constructed by professionals who truly understand hiring managers’ needs.

Can A Resume Be 2 Pages? (tips & Tricks) Ipad


Pick a visual appearance

that your audience will appreciate. As an outline guide, for traditional positions, pick a classic style of resume, and for creative positions choose a more contemporary template. For example, in a larger corporate environment, hiring managers respect a to-the-point formal style. Small or medium-sized service organizations will appreciate a more elegantly styled resume.

Select your template to best highlight

the features and benefits you offer, relative to what is asked for. For early-career or technical roles, qualifications may be most important to use a template that highlights yours. For other roles, achievements may be key, or skills, or scope of experience, and so on. If a role requires you to be creative and confident, choose a resume template that adds some color and boldness.

Add your content

with your audience in mind, consistent with your chosen resume template style. Corporate organizations expect a more conservative approach; flashy colors and graphics may count against you. This is especially true where they use an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) which cannot read the information within graphic elements. To get some insider tips and hit the mark with your content, read our article: How to write a great resume.

Choosing the type of resume template

Classic resume templates

Are ideal for traditional jobs and corporate roles where you’ll take responsibilities seriously. With a clean and clear appearance, they get to the point and give key abilities, skills, experience, and education categories in prominent positions. Choose a classic resume template If you are is unsure.

Classic Resume Templates

Modern resume templates

Are sleek and contemporary, designed with simplicity and efficiency in mind. They take a ‘summary’ approach and utilize short paragraphs, bold titling, bullet points, and white space. A modern resume template works well in technical roles to show highlights at the start and detail toward the end, once you’ve hooked attention.

Modern Resume Template

Elegant resume templates

Provide a sophisticated look. Various colors and styling touch smooth the feel of a classic resume. They look crafted and work well for roles needing higher levels of considered behavior and personal creativity. Elegant resume templates score when applying for executive, management, and supervisory roles, as well as in the ‘creative’ fields.

Elegant Resume Template

Professional insights

Bear in mind these ‘do’ and ‘don’t’ comments captured from recruiters, HR professionals, and hiring managers who often have to read resumes all day, every day.

  • “Choose the Right Resume Template. Please! Anything that helps me scan and read faster strongly increases your chance of selection for interview.”
  • “You’ll get a ‘Wow’ from me for fitting the profile required, not for hitting me with a radical design of the resume. Choose your template sympathetically.”
  • “Charts and tables look good and tell a story but, to help where applicant tracking systems are used, provide a text link, especially for such things as a portfolio.”
  • “Content wins every time, so choose a template that helps you present it better.”
  • “A great resume template has done its job if a recruiter’s attention goes straight to a killer opening statement about you. Avoid templates that simply draw attention to a pretty graphic somewhere else on the page.”
  • Choose a resume template that lets you highlight things. Slabs of unbroken text are impossible to scan, so I just don’t bother.”

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Want even more templates for inspiration?

Browse classic, elegant, modern templates from professional designers.

Career Coach Resume Writer Resumeway

Jon Gregory

Jon Gregory is a highly accomplished professional with a diverse range of expertise in the career development field.  As a respected and sought-after expert, he serves as a career adviser at Resumeway, a National Careers Week Ambassador, and a Careers Expert Member for The Guardian.

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