Are Resume Templates the "Kiss of Death"?

Lewis Stratton
 


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The Resume/Curriculum Vitae market place is both a crowded and competitive one. I know this because it is a market of which I am a part.

As a consumer, you may have observed the torrents of conflicting advice about how you should or should not proceed with your own Resume or Curriculum Vitae. I would not be surprised if you had either taken the decision to ignore all the advice and forge ahead with your own resources or conversely, found yourself paralysed by too much [mis]information.

Reading the range of views it is clear that writers begin from a variety of perspectives, which may include;

- Employers revile the use of Resume/CV templates as an inditement on the creativity of applicants
- Employers despair on receiving Resumes and CV’s that exceed 2 pages (or whatever number is the current fashion).
- The average job seeker does not have the competence to write their own Resume/CV and should hire a Consultant
- Job seekers should use their own intuition and common-sense and don’t need any further guidance
- The average job seeker needs a little help to stay up to date with current recruitment trends and terminology

These are but a small sample of opinions available to you. Let’s take the first two perspectives on employer’s needs.

An employer wants, first and foremost, a Resume that matches, as clearly and concisely as possible, an applicant’s training, knowledge, skills and experience to the requirements of the position for which they are recruiting. Do they really care whether you have paid a consultant hundreds of dollars, or used a professional and flexible Resume template that can be adapted to your needs? I think NOT! What the employer does not want is a flimsy and irrelevant document that is produced to “fit” recruitment fashions.

Not exactly rocket-science, is it? Why then do professional Resume consultants/writers insist on the “one right way” approach to YOUR Resume or CV? Perhaps the reason is nothing more complicated than these same consultants and writers have only one way to offer. This perspective does not make sense, of course, given that the job market is a huge and infinitely variable beast. Your two-page Resume may be perfect for the retail position you seek, but grossly inadequate for the medical, science or teaching position you would love to win.

Let us now consider the last 3 perspectives on job seekers. Are you a hopeless “career wreck” that cannot be trusted to write your own Resume or CV? Or are you a highly experienced and skilled writer that needs no further input? The fact that you are reading materials about Resume and CV development suggests to me that you are more likely to see yourself as competent and skilled, but in search of some refinements that will give you the edge. This is true of most aspiring applicants. One thing is certain - YOU will know far more about your profession or industry than 99% of the consultants wanting your business (including me!).

This is where professional and flexible Resume/CV templates are invaluable. You don’t want a consultant to be making assumptions about the requirements of your industry or profession. You might however need a bit of helpful advice on the;

- types of information that a good Resume/CV would include
- use of positive language and appropriate self promotion techniques
- layout and presentation of your Resume/CV to maximise the relevance and ease of reading

This is why I offer my customers a guide book (“Write Yourself A Job!”) as well as a variety of Resume/CV templates and Covering Letters that can be adapted according to individual needs. They have served job seekers from many different sectors.

Given that you are the expert on your own capacities and abilities, the use of a Resume/CV template may be ideal for your circumstance. Should you decide to proceed in this way what should you be looking for in Resume/CV templates? Ideally you will want

- several templates from which to choose
- templates which include plain text formats, capable of being uploaded onto web-based recruitment sites
- template formats that have the flexibility to add or delete sections and headings
- a final Resume/CV product that is well laid out, providing consistent and orderly information for the benefit of the reader
- templates based on commonly-used software (for example, Microsoft Word, which can also be edited in the standard Windows “Wordpad” application)

Don’t take the advice of any consultant or writer as gospel. Think about your own situation and needs. If a selection of templates will make your task simpler and enhance the presentation of your Resume or CV, why not use them?

In summary, no one approach to Resume/CV writing will suit all job seekers or circumstances. Go with your instincts on the level of support you need. Why pay anyone for any level of service if you are highly skilled in marketing your own abilities? Don’t be afraid of using high-quality templates if you simply need to enhance your presentation. Or if you really do feel that you don’t have the competence to develop a winning Resume or CV, then by all means retain a Consultant to frame your Resume for you. Just make sure they understand the critical elements of your profession, industry and your own background before undertaking the task.

Once you have an approach that is appropriate to your needs, build on it. Keep a “running record” of training, skills, knowledge, experience, research and other projects, memberships etc. This forms a database from which future Resumes or CV’s can be easily extracted.

More useful articles and information can be found on http://www.progressenterprise.com. In the meantime, happy job hunting!

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