Putting together a high-quality resume that stands out from other applicants and sets you up for success in your job search can be difficult, so many turn to resume templates to streamline this process.

Resume templates can help you save time by offering a thoughtfully crafted outline, allowing you to fill in the template with your personal information and experience. While resume templates may not let you exercise your creative freedom as much as you’d like, they offer a safe way to create a high-quality resume that can make it past applicant tracking systems (ATS).

If you’re wondering whether you’d be better off using a resume template or creating your resume from scratch, here’s what you should consider before deciding.

The Pros and Cons of Resume Templates

Using a resume template can save you time, ensure a clean and professional appearance, and effectively structure your resume. However, it may restrict your creative freedom and result in a generic-looking resume. The key is to balance the convenience of a template and the need to personalize it for your specific goals and target job.

  • Saves time
  • Clean, professional format
  • Provides guidance
  • Less creative freedom
  • Can come across as generic


There are three main advantages to using resume templates rather than making your resume. In addition to saving you time, they guide you regarding what information you should include, and they use professional formats readily understood by hiring managers.

  1. Saves Time: Resume templates provide a pre-designed structure you can follow, saving you valuable time and effort. Instead of starting from scratch, you can simply fill in the template with your information, which is particularly helpful if you need to create multiple resumes for different job applications.
  2. Looks Clean and Professional: Resume templates are often designed by professionals who understand the best practices in resume formatting. Using a template ensures that your resume looks polished and visually appealing. It helps you maintain consistency in font styles, spacing, and overall layout, giving your resume a professional edge.
  3. Provides Guidance: Templates guide what information to include in each section of your resume. They prompt you to include important details such as contact information, work experience, education, and skills. This structure ensures you don’t overlook any crucial components and helps you organize your resume effectively.


While resume templates offer several benefits, there are a few drawbacks:

  1. Lack of Creative Freedom: Resume templates come with predefined layouts and designs, limiting your creative freedom. If you have a unique background or are applying for a creative role, a template may not fully showcase your individuality. However, it is still possible to customize the template to some extent to reflect your brand.
  2. Generic Look: Since resume templates are widely available, there is a chance that other job seekers may use the same template. This can result in resumes that look similar and lack originality. Personalizing the template and tailoring it to highlight your unique skills and experiences is important to stand out from the competition.

How To Use Resume Templates

To make the most of resume templates, you need to customize the default text and tailor the template to your background, goals, and the specific jobs you’re applying to.

Here are some tips for writing the different sections of your resume.

Contact information

Every resume should include your name, phone number, email address, and location. For your location, you don’t need to include your entire address. Instead, standard practice is to simply list your city, state, and zip code for brevity and privacy.

Suppose you have a well-polished LinkedIn profile or an online website or portfolio that showcases your work. In that case, you should consider including that alongside your contact information at the top of your resume.


The profile section serves as a brief introduction of yourself. Describe your experience, skills, and notable accomplishments in just a few sentences. Keep it concise (no more than three to four sentences) and impactful, focusing on the most relevant aspects that align with the job you’re applying for. Avoid using first person.

Work experience

List your work experience in reverse chronological order, starting with your most recent position. When describing your roles and responsibilities, use action verbs and emphasize quantifiable results to demonstrate how you can bring value to an organization.

Provide specific examples of your achievements, such as the dollar amount of sales generated or the percentage increase in client satisfaction. This demonstrates your effectiveness and adds credibility to your resume.


Include your educational background, starting with the highest level of education obtained. If you earned degrees more than 10 to 15 years ago, including the dates is unnecessary. This can help avoid potential ageism issues and keep the focus on your qualifications and skills.


The skills section of your resume is very important and should reflect the specific job description you’re applying to. Review what skills the job description emphasizes, and edit your resume to add any of your relevant skills.

Remember not only to include hard skills, as soft skills can be just as important. Hard skills are specific technical or industry-related abilities, while soft skills are personal qualities and traits. For example, one of your hard skills might be ‘Digital Advertising,’ while a soft skill would be ‘Time Management.’

In a standalone “Skills” section, use bullet points to highlight your most valuable hard skills. Soft skills can be indirectly referenced throughout the resume, such as describing your work experience or achievements.

By customizing the template to include your unique information and tailoring it to each job application, you can maximize the benefits of using a resume template while showcasing your individuality and suitability for the role.

Andrew Stoner

Executive Resume Writer and Career Coach

Andrew Stoner is an executive career coach and resume writer with 17 years of experience as a hiring manager and operations leader at two Fortune 500 Financial Services companies, and as the career services director at two major university business schools.

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