Expert job search advice.

Can I use a resume template?

Create a powerful resume using a template. Using a template to help your resume pack a punch.

The Pros and Cons of Resume Templates

Is it ever OK to use a resume template?” is one of the most common questions that early career job seekers like to ask.

The gold standard is a professionally curated resume, which can be expensive or time-consuming. Despite being in the business of creating custom career marketing collateral, I believe that a good resume template can be used to build a powerful resume in some circumstances.

Content on a resume is always “king” and the most important part of the document. However, the design is what makes the content easy to read and captures the attention of the recruiter or hiring manager.

Well designed templates can improve resume readability

A template can help tailor any resume to highlight successes. Resumes should be formatted with the intention of grabbing the employer’s attention quickly. A well-designed document needs to convey your skillset while showcasing quantified results of past experience in a simplified way. Job search site, The Ladders, conducted a study in 2018 about how much time recruiters spend reviewing a resume and what elements of the resume grab attention.

“Despite operating in the toughest hiring environment in decades, many recruiters are still skimming resumes for details—with the average initial screen clocking in at just 7.4 seconds.”

The Ladders, 2018 “Eye Tracking Study”

Beware of resume templates that are not ATS-friendly

Forbes reports that 72% of resumes are never seen by employers thanks to Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS). reports than now 98% of companies are using an ATS. Well-formatted resumes are ATS friendly, therefore getting more traction from job search sites.

The internet is full of resume templates, but not all are created equal. When searching for a resume template, look for one that isn’t just nice to look at. It should also be easy to use and ultimately easy to read. A lot of resumes that we see on websites like Etsy are created by graphic designers to be visually attractive and stand out in a stack, but may not be ATS-friendly.

72% of resumes are never seen by employers.

– Forbes

Resume templates can save time

Professional resume writers spend 2-3 hours just formatting the resume to make sure it is well received. However, it could take the average person much longer. A resume template can save valuable time and guide a job seeker to include important details that may otherwise be omitted.

In an effort to level the playing field, allowing access to high-quality products at affordable prices, three professional resume writers and career coaches Sarah Johnston, Adrienne Tom and Virginia Franco developed Job Search Journey. Job Search Journey is a unique marketplace that offers all job seekers resources to create a powerful, job-winning resume without the price tag of an expert writer. Professionally done templates designed by trained resume writers are offered in a variety of budgets.

Technology has changed how resumes get read. Instead of taking the time to print and read paper resumes, readers are skipping the analog reading to digital. Therefore it is important to translate resumes to be easily read on laptops and mobiles!

Consider a few of Briefcase Coach‘s favorite templates

The Briefcase Coach's Favorite Resume Templates on Job Search Journey

— With this ready-to-use modern resume template from Angela Watts, My Pro Resumes, you can present your career story in a  compelling and visually appealing way.

— This easy to edit and customize resume template from Hannah Mason, The English Meeting Room, includes detailed notes and step-by-step instructions to help you create an outstanding resume.

— Complete with a how-to video, ATS hacks and a resume template, this package from Claire Davis, Traction Resumes, will allow any sale job candidate to hit the ground running.

More Job Search Journey Resume Templates

— Working with a recruiter who has made changes to your resume? This 16-page tool from Erica Reckamp, Job Search Like a Pro, goes through common issues with recruiter resumes, providing before and after examples, plus section-by-section quick fixes.

— If you are a new recent social work graduate or even a seasoned clinician, then this resume template from Harleny Vasquez, Your Evolved Mind, is the perfect model for you to write your own. 

— This customizable template is specifically tailored to new graduates and college students! The co-founders of Job Search Journey designed this to help young job seekers who recently graduated or are still in school and searching for an internship.

— Looking for something different? Job Search Journey has over 40 professionally designed templates to help you make your resume a successful one!

Pros and Cons to Using a Resume Template

Pros: Save money on professional services
Save time formatting your resume
Resume stands out among "run-of-the-mill" formats
ATS friendly resume for seamless submission on job search sites
Final product is a concise and organized product focused on end-user  Cons: It can be difficult for the job seeker to unearth their own story - it is easier for someone else to unearth your greatness
A professional resume writer can help identify quantifiable results to include
Not everyone is a great writer, resume writing is a skill

Final Words

Full disclosure: Job search Journey is a passion venture of the founder of the Briefcase Coach, Sarah Johnston. As a career practitioner who has had the privilege of working with job seekers for almost a decade, she saw a need for quality job search support and help for the non-executive job seeker. While her private practice, Briefcase Coach, works one-on-one with job seekers to build out custom resumes and mock interviews. she built this site because of her conviction that all job seekers at all career levels regardless of income— deserve quality job search tools made by trained experts.

Sarah partnered with Adrienne Tom and Virginia Franco (two award-winning executive resume writers) to build the first-ever job search marketplace. They launched with over 210 products ranging from resume templates for recruiters, mental health providers, software engineers to cover letters and salary negotiation scripts. These are designed by some of the top career experts from around the world. The site offers a wide range of helpful and affordable offerings for all stages of job search – from research to networking to resume writing to interview prep to salary negotiation! We hope that you’ll visit and let us know what you think.