Thinking About Using a Microsoft Word Resume Template? Think Again

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It’s easy to insert your information into a resume template and submit it. There’s barely any work involved, and you still end up with a decent resume, right? Not necessarily. When you think about all the effort that goes into creating a resume from scratch, you may be tempted to use a Microsoft Word template to get the job done, but these template resumes rarely translate into job search success. You can get yourself a superb resume with even less effort if you just send an SOS to our resume experts

Here’s why using a Microsoft Word resume template isn’t usually such a great choice.

1. They’re professional but generic

One merit of Microsoft Word resume templates is that they do look professional. Clearly, a resume expert took the time to create a universally acceptable template and made putting together a resume easy. However, the very fact that these templates are so professional-looking could be their weakness. If everyone takes the easy way out and uses them, their resumes will be generic and blend in with the crowd. 

Even if your content is unique and superbly demonstrates your suitability for the position, the first thing the hiring manager will see is the generic resume template, which will cloud their opinion of your content. On the other hand, creating your own resume helps you stand out and allows you to customize the text according to your specific needs.

2. They’re useful but outdated

Another good thing about Microsoft Word templates is that they provide a checklist to ensure you have all the essential elements in your resume. With a seal of approval from Microsoft Word, you can feel confident that your resume is ready to start landing you interviews. The issue, however, is that the checklist doesn’t evolve while resume trends change. Your Microsoft Word template might have worked a few years ago, but it’s not the optimal choice for today. If you submit a resume based on outdated trends, your chances of getting the job are slim to none.

3. They’re helpful but ineffective

Microsoft provides a LinkedIn resume assistant that can help you construct your resume. You can simply type in “LinkedIn,” and the assistant icon will pop up. Using this assistant can guide you through the process, but your resume template could be ineffective when it comes to getting hired. 

These days, many companies use applicant tracking systems (ATSs) that filter resumes based on keywords, formatting, and more. These computer programs reject resumes that don’t have enough of the necessary keywords for the position, but poor formatting can also be a fast track to the trash bin if the ATS can’t decipher your resume. The LinkedIn assistant can’t help you optimize your resume for this digital filter, and if your document doesn’t get through the system, it’ll never make it to the hiring manager. Instead of using the LinkedIn assistant, use a human resume expert to beat the ATS. 

Think again

It’s best to avoid these generic, outdated, and ineffective resume templates, but then you have to rethink how to craft your resume. Here are some valuable tips.

Start over

You could just tweak your old resume and try to give it an original design, but if you do that, it could look very similar to the template or the same as it. Instead, start from scratch. Starting with a clean slate will help you figure out how to reinvent your resume in a more creative way. Being already locked into a template can hold you back.

Learn from resume examples

Research specific resume examples to see how people in your professional field have put together their resumes. In this way, you can see what kinds of resumes have helped applicants get hired. However, don’t just copy these examples and turn them into a template of sorts. Take inspiration from them and create a resume of your own. If you look at several different ones, you can take their best features and combine them to craft the best resume for you.

Have a professional write your resume

There are never any guarantees in writing resumes. The best way to get yours past the ATS and into the hands of recruiters is to hire a professional resume writer. Don’t let resume writing overwhelm you—get a professional to do the job for you. As long as you provide the job posting and any other pertinent information that allows the resume writer to determine the keywords, you’ll end up with a resume that’s likely to not just make it to the hiring manager but also impress them. Don’t know what to write or how to present your content? Not sure if your layout is up-to-date? Ask the experts!

When it comes to writing your resume, you could take the easy way out by using a Microsoft Word resume template, but that may very well mean you’ll never hear back from the hiring manager. So, why not hire a professional resume writer to create a unique resume for you and maximize your chances of landing the job you want?

Improve Your Resume or CV