Sometimes, it's just easier to improve on something rather than start from scratch. This is where resume templates come into play.
There are two types of resume templates available:
- templates that you can complete online and then download; or
- templates which you download and then modify on your computer.
The first type of resume templates is best if you are not computer literate or don't want to spend time working on the layout of your resume. Also referred to as online resume builders, these types of templates take you through a series of questions and then format the resume for you. Although you get to choose how your resume will look like, most of the time, the choices open to you are limited. Generally, you will have to pay a monthly fee to keep having access to this service.
The second type of resume templates refers to those which you can download on your computer and then make changes as you see fit. For instance, if you have Microsoft Word ("MS"), you can download a MS resume template and then add your information. Because it's a MS template, you can use all the MS functionalities to make changes to the template as you see fit. Since you have downloaded the template, you can reuse it as often as you'd like.
The good thing about MS resume templates is that many of them are available for free. Further, since you can customize them to your own liking, your resume will be unique.
Here are some free resume templates with matching cover letters:
- Intermediate/ Executive templates (2 pages or more)
- Entry-level templates (1 page)
One you have chosen the resume template that you prefer, the next step is to customize it.
Customizing Your Resume Template
Following are some tips to help you customize your resume:
- The first step is to choose the right resume format; i.e. reverse-chronological, functional or hybrid. Choose the resume format that will help you highlight your strengths, while toning down your weaknesses. For example, if you were out of the workforce for several years, you may want to use a functional resume format instead of the reverse-chronological one to focus on your skills set and draw attention away from your period(s) of unemployment.
- Decide how to order the sections of your resume and what title to use for each section. For example, if you're a new graduate, you should put your Education section ahead of your Work Experience section. Regarding your section titles, decide whether you want the standard titles, like "Work Experience" or something more unique like "Background in Sales".
- Last but not least, decide what to emphasize and how to emphasize (i.e. using bold, underline, italics, color, etc.). Also consider if there is anything else you can do to help your resume stand out.
These are only some tips to get you started. To see what others have done, you can also view the resume samples featured on WorkBloom.