By Sabrina Rojas Weiss
Refinery 29, January 3, 2018 —
No matter what the news says about low unemployment rates, if you don’t yet have your dream job, you’re going to need every tool at your disposal to attract an employer’s eye. Literally.
That’s why it’s increasingly popular for people to incorporate flashy designs in their résumé. For those of us who aren’t graphic designers, that often means using a résumé template. We’ll point you in the direction of some résumé templates out there in a minute, but first, you might be wondering how necessary these are for a job search. Do hiring managers even look at résumés when they can find out everything about us on social media or in those lengthy online applications we’re always filling out?
“Employers are always going to look you up on LinkedIn, but you also need to have some kind of tangible document that you can send along to demonstrate your professional identity,” career coach Elana Konstant tells Refinery29.
As you browse through some of the templates, you might be tempted to choose the designs that are the most artistic or fit the most words on the page. Konstant warns that those aren’t necessarily the ones that will land you a job. Some managers in creative fields might welcome an unconventional design, while many others will prefer a more conservative approach.
“I’ve noticed on Etsy, and some other sites, they sell formats that are pretty to look at, but I sometimes find that it can be hard to extract the right information from them,” she says. “It’s a delicate balance between finding something that you think looks good, but that represents the right information. … I definitely err on the side of fewer bells and whistles and really having the experience stand out. ”
While many of these template sites include guidance on the content, not just the design, Konstant suggests seeking guidance offline.
“Ask people who actually do the kind of work that you want to do to take a look at [your résumé] and see what’s missing,” she says. “[That way] you can make sure that your résumé really speaks to the kind of jobs that you’re looking for.”
Before you run off and find your mentor, you can at least start by using the following template sites. One note: Beware of many sites offering free or low-cost templates. Some of them will automatically subscribe you to their services after 14 days, and charge you fees as high as $25 a month. If there’s no pricing info available on a site, that should be a red flag.
The easiest, free-est place to start is right here, where there are five templates to choose from that include tiny bits of personality in the form of font changes, color, and lines.
If you have Office, there are pages and pages of free résumé and cover letter templates available to download and use in Word for free. They range from the simplest to wildly colorful with photos. Choose wisely — you don’t want to use the same template as everyone else, nor do you want to present something wild to a very traditional employer.
There’s a variety of free Word doc templates to choose from here, but it comes with a catch: You have to share a link to the site on Facebook or Twitter in order to unlock the free download link. As an alternative, you can buy a premium pack ($15), which includes a cover letter format and free email support.
Another site with plenty of Word templates for free, but this one comes with a land mines of ads for other résumé sites scattered throughout the page — and they all look like the buttons you should click for your download until they take you to a different page.
The trick is to hunt for the blue “Download” buttons on the template of your choice, and then click on the hyperlinked word “free.”
Graphic designers use this site to showcase their work, and some up-and-comers are so eager to showcase their wares that they offer résumé templates to download for free. This is a gold mine if employers in your field value creativity.
This site offers two templates you can download for free in a ZIP file and then edit in Microsoft Word or Apple Pages.
You can also buy fancier templates for around $12-13 each, with some packages for $19. For another $29, you can get a résumé editor to look at it, too.
Support the entrepreneurial designers out there by buying a template directly from them!
The templates go for as low as $4.50, or as high as $150 (which includes editing), though most hover around the $10 mark.
This site offers free one-page résumé templates, in styles ranging from “functional” to “creative,” that are perfect for people in the early stages of their career.
Premium subscribers ($16 for one month, $9.99/month for three months, $6.99/month for a year) can get longer CV templates, custom layouts, cover letter templates, extra fonts and colors, and options to add icons.
The best thing about this site is the way you can import info from your LinkedIn profile to begin building your résumé. Of course, you should probably do a bit of editing after that: Konstant recommends you tailor descriptions of your experience and skills for each position to which you’re applying, making sure you include some keywords that are in the specific job listing.
There’s a free option for some of the templates, but they will include a Resumonk footer, which doesn’t look particularly professional. A $29 annual fee will get you 17 templates in both PDF and doc formats, accompanying cover letter templates, plus a url for your résumé that allows you to track who’s looked at it.
Though it’s based in Poland and caters to people all over the world, this résumé-building site specifies which formats are recommended for American jobs. An online tool clearly guides users through each step of filling out the template, with tips from recruiters included in each section.
The $5.99 starter pack includes four templates that you can save in PDF format and download unlimited times. The $17.99/month premium plan includes 18 templates, cover letters, and a url that tracks views and downloads.