I am not a big fan of resume templates for executives. The disadvantages far outweigh any benefits, based on my observations during more than 20 years of executive search experience. Most of the ones I have reviewed are simply mediocre.
Since the resume is a job candidate’s first interview, this is an important career management issue to consider.
To be transparent, my analysis is based on executive level candidates. Templates can be helpful to hourly, supervisory or management level positions but executives should be very skeptical.
Most of the templates I have reviewed simply do not afford executives the level of flexibility they need to customize their message for potential employers. Resumes constructed using one of the popular templates can help candidates avoid mistakes of form and the omission of important information, but there is an important downside that should not disregarded: Templates produce a lot sameness, and in a competitive executive job market, the last thing one wants is to look like every other candidate.
Executive recruiters and employers can spot a template a mile away. Some think using a template — cut and paste job search — is the lazy way of chronicling your experience and accomplishments. One job search consultant said that candidates using templates were signaling to her that, if hired, they would always be looking for quick and easy solutions to problems.
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Most Internet promotions for these resume templates claim they are written by experts. No one seems to know who these experts are but clearly they are not experts who should be advising executives. In this regard, they are substandard.
Since most templates do not allow for much customization, job seekers, particularly executives, who use them end up selling themselves short.
We will be addressing resume dos and don’ts in future blog posts.