Like most documents, a resume is all about content. However, equally important is the way in which you choose to present this content.
Once you have decided on all of the information that you will include in your resume, you must find a template that will highlight your accomplishments in the best way. While there are thousands of free templates available online, not every template is appropriate. In an effort to stand out, many hopeful candidates choose to stray away from the classic resume, and instead opt for more graphics-heavy templates. Although these creative samples may look beautiful and catchy at first glance, it is not likely to impress any employer.
A heavily designed professional document - whether that is a resume or cover letter - is almost never an appropriate choice. Very rarely, in one case out of 100, is it wise to use a graphics oriented resume template when presenting your skills and accomplishments. In these rare cases, you are either absolutely sure that the person reading your document prefers this style, or you are applying for a graphic designer position and have created a unique template on your own. On any other occasions, you should stick to more standard styles to ensure that your content is conveyed most effectively to your hirer.
Understandably, the biggest concern applicants have when it comes to basic resume templates is blending in with the plethora of other applicants’ resumes. Keep in mind however, that it is ultimately your listed skills and competencies that will influence the final decision. It is better to have a resume that has a simple format than one with an outrageous design that will be rejected immediately. Keep in mind that you only have a limited amount of space, and using graphics will prevent you from adding potentially valuable information on the page.
This approach to resume formatting may seem too strict, but it is based on years of experience and success. For the best results, an easy simple resume template is the way to go.
Despite being traditional, the chronological resume has proven time and again to be extremely effective in conveying a candidate’s achievements and strengths. For this reason, a large portion of this format is included in the ResumeYard template as well.
This format is well suited for those with vast career history, professionals who worked in well-known international companies and graduates possessing relevant work and internship experience. On the other hand, it is not recommended for specialists with long periods without employment, active career changers, and job seekers without any experience at all.
The format is as follows:
The applicant’s name and contact information are placed on the top and serve as a title for the document.
Undoubtedly, one of the most important parts of the document is a summary (here it is called “Professional Profile”) which consists of several bullets or a short paragraph defining your best abilities and achievements. We highly recommend exploring our summary guide before writing this part.
A bulleted list describing the applicant in a few key, marketable skills.
The longest section of the resume, this section is worth paying the most attention to. Through these experiences, the hirer can decipher what experiences led the applicant to the current point in his or her life. This is essential knowledge for the company when planning a possible future collaboration with the applicant. The document ends with including details about the candidate’s education.
This sample is informative and concise at the same time, which is what we are striving for. It never goes out of style and is even frequently called “timeless” thanks to its conventional layout. No superfluous text, just a pure selection of the most crucial information that will help the HR manager understand who you are, and want to invite you for an interview right away.
The key distinguishing factor in a chronological resume is the use of time. Listing all of your experiences in order from most to least recent will help the reader see the bigger picture of your professional life.
The main competitor of a chronological style is a functional one. At first glance, there are not too many differences between the two, but if you look closely, the latter focuses on the applicant’s skills over their workplaces. This is a simple resume template for students and graduates without relevant practical experience, or employees with notable gaps in work history.
If you are not satisfied with either of the two options described above, the combination resume may be for you. Usually, it serves as a good basis for experts in the IT sphere or those looking to change industries.
Once you have familiarized yourself with the key benefits of each format, download our free simple resume template for Microsoft WORD or PDF file and follow the instructions below to customize it for yourself.
In general, it is pretty obvious what to do - just replace all the text in each section with your own relevant information. Some blocks can be extended or shortened depending on your personal abilities and history. For example, the sample hero has more diverse working experience than some other people, but if this is not the case for you, you can expand or shorten accordingly. Try to fit everything into one page if it is possible, but do not swap or remove existing chunks.
Your name is placed on the top of the page and appears in bold text for extra visibility. Below, include your email and phone number to provide the hiring manager with a point of contact. You can also include a link to your LinkedIn profile to offer the reader the opportunity to learn more about you as a person.
The “Professional Profile” is the first information heavy portion of the document, so be very thoughtful while compiling it. First impressions last - many job applicants are rejected simply based on this section, and this shows its importance. There are no second chances, so if the summary is not good enough then the candidate is automatically considered mediocre. The logic is simple: if you cannot take care of your own introductory presentation, you are probably not responsible enough to do the company’s work in the future. Although there is no direct correlation between summary style and expert skills, this section is meant to provide an introduction to your hirer. You may be an outstanding specialist, but without an well thought out summary, your HR manager will never know it.
Next, the “Areas of Expertise” section provides the full representation of professional fields that you are able to work in. This list serves as a set of keywords that are meaningful both for the Applicant Tracking System (ATS) and for the real person who examines the document. The light gray background makes this an area of focus for the reader. The skills included in this section should be relevant and truthful as well. If you are applying for a job as an accountant for instance, your ability to draw beautiful portraits may not be the best skill to share in this section.
These skills can be both hard and soft skills, but it is best to provide a good balance of the two. We recommend formatting this list in one of three ways:
Regardless of the format you choose, we suggest providing 8-15 of your most relevant skills.
You may have noticed that all the recommendations from our summary guide are also perfectly applicable to the “Professional Experience” section. Structuring the information using bulleted lists makes it easier to read and comprehend, and short statements allow you to instantly get your point across and avoid redundancy by removing filler words. The bold text highlights previously occupied positions, and underlined formatting visually separates each milestone of your career. Be careful when choosing your wording here; use impact-oriented language rather than a simple description of your duties.
The more impact you demonstrate in your resume, the higher the chances are that you will impress the recruiter.
In today’s competitive job market, it is not enough to simply have work experience. Hiring managers are much more interested in how you contributed to the success of your company than the job description itself.
The number of bullet points you include can vary. If your experience in a certain position is relevant to the job opening you are interested in, you can include up to 10 points. However, if some of your previous positions are of no relevance to your career plans, you can just leave 2-3 bullets without jeopardizing your image. It is important to note that bullets should not be too lengthy; not more than 3 lines. In most cases, a one-line bullet is enough, as we are always aiming for the most efficient organization of information.
The next section titled, “Education” is extremely important for fresh graduates and current students as it allows them to showcase their abilities and practical experiences that were obtained during the learning process. Including any educational achievements (eg. Honor Roll) will quantify your success, making it easier for your hirer to understand.
It is not necessary to include your high school history, as your university education implies that you have already received a secondary school diploma.
Your template can also include other sections. Certifications, Honors & Awards, Volunteering experience, Professional Affiliations. For these sections, we recommend using the same formatting as for the “Professional Experience” section. Bullet points are easy to read in comparison to plain text, and they are also visually attractive.
Finally, we recommend keeping your resume as short and concise as possible. In most cases having a one-page resume is enough. If you have less than 10 years of experience and no more than 3 different companies or organizations, a second page is excessive. The one-page rule is applicable for almost every applicant besides those with many awards, vast volunteer or work experience, or for executives.
You now possess the knowledge essential to succeed in your job search. The above information gives you a solid approach to creating an outstanding resume. However, if you want to save your time and be sure that everything is done on a professional level, our experts would be glad to help you.