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Pick a Resume Template

Updated May 11, 2021 2 min

The most fun part of writing a resume is choosing a template. This is where you decide on the look and feel of your resume. You might decide to add a pop of color, include icons in your header, or draw the reader's eye to your impressive list of technical skills.

Your chosen template should reflect the types of jobs you're interested in while also being true to your personal taste. For example, if you're applying for a job in investment banking, you'll certainly want a more traditional resume template without any flair. On the other hand, if you're applying to marketing roles at a creative agency, you'll benefit from designing a uniquely formatted resume that speaks to your branding skills.

Pick a Format

Lots of us tend to get hung up on the format of a resume. So let’s start by saying: there’s no such thing as a perfect resume template. What one person hates on a resume, another person loves. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder!

As a rule of thumb, your resume should be 1 page long. This should always be the case if you have 10 years or less of experience. 

Choosing a Resume Template

Picking your template is one of the most fun parts of creating your resume. Getting the end goal in mind is motivating! 

We’ve seen thousands of resumes here at Placement and built out a pack of easy-to-use Resume Templates. They’re designed based on seeing what works to land interviews successfully. They’re recruiter-approved and verified to work with ATSs.

Here are a few resume templates you can check out:

Another tip to find resume templates is to try looking on MBA career websites, Etsy (yep, really!), career websites like the Muse, or asking friends and family.

Can the ATS read my template?

Right. Let’s cover that. An ATS, or Applicant Tracking System, is software used by employers to track and manage candidates. Common ones are Workday, Jobvite, Greenhouse, and Lever. They ingest your resume and make it easy for people at the company to read your information. The issue is that some resume formats show up as gobbledygook in an ATS. Not all ATS' accept all file types. But company websites don’t actually tell you what file types they do or don’t take. This can cause you to be immediately disqualified without ever getting a chance.

To make sure you’re good:

  • Create your resume in Google Docs or an up-to-date version of Microsoft Word.

  • And always, always, always export your resume as a PDF before you send it. 

  • Don’t use anything exotic like Adobe Illustrator or Canva. Some ATSs can’t read those files.

Is my resume template good?

Great question! There are multiple things to consider here.

In terms of look and feel, think about your audience. In 2020, recruiters were reviewing 400+ resumes for each job posting. Quite literally, their eyes get tired, and they get bored. Yes, even people with a great work ethic. You have to earn their attention!

To do so, first make sure your resume is easy on the eyes:

  • For most roles, include a bit of flair or color to stand out from the crowd (but keep it classy). Try an accent color or slightly unexpected font. Look on Etsy, Creddle, and Canva for inspiration. 

  • For roles in a more formal environment like financial services or management consulting, keep with a simple, conservative resume style. Find a template used by MBAs, and you’ll be good. 

  • If you’re in a creative field, your resume had better showcase your design and creative sensibilities in a positive way.

Next, make sure that it’s easy to read. That means:

  • Font size is no smaller than 9.5 points.

  • Font is easy to read, professional, and consistent throughout the document

  • Ample white space

  • Margins are no smaller than 0.7 inches

  • Accommodates ~400 words of content

  • “Skills” is on the top or the side

Then, make sure your resume is complete with all the following sections:

  • Header

  • Summary

  • Experience

  • Education

  • Skills

  • OPTIONAL: Projects, Activities, or Interests

Keep in mind that what works for resumes changes over time. Just because your template worked well a few years ago doesn’t mean it necessarily will work well now!