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Some people operate under the misguided assumption that style trumps content when it comes to resumes. This belief has caused many a job-seeker to use templates as the foundation of their resumes. Resume templates (samples) are easy to find on the Internet and a simple Google search can turn up templates for teachers, forklift-drivers, bookkeepers, truck drivers and just about any occupation you can imagine.

These templates are usually in Microsoft Word format and can be quickly downloaded for free and adapted to meet your needs. So what’s the harm? Some websites offer hundreds of free templates to download – many of the ones I’ve reviewed look like they were created by somebody who had very few insights into what belongs on a resume. On the Internet it’s easy to claim an expertise you do not possess, but poor quality is just the tip of the template iceberg that wants to sink your job search.

The most obvious problem is that many job-seekers use these templates and employers can easily spot them. In fact, with newer versions of Microsoft Word, an employer can use the metadata to identify the source or author of the template. So instead of a template helping your resume stand out from the crowd, an employer sees a resume that looks like many others in the pile that was created by somebody other than the job-seeker. It’s not the best first impression.

Another problem relates to content. A template is meant to provide inspiration to a resume author. Because many job-seekers are unsure of how to craft their content to present themselves in the best light possible, they will often leave in the default boiler-plate text. Instead of impressive accomplishments on a resume, the employer sees a mundane list of job-duties. In the world of resume templates every applicant is hard-working, punctual and a team player. No wonder employers only look at a resume for a few seconds before moving on to another.

So, for a job seeker who is in a hurry or who is unsure about how to best present themselves on a resume, a template is indeed a tempting presentation. It seems to solve the problem of how to create a resume. However, this approach ignores the real goal of getting invited in for an interview. A resume that looks the same as a million others, full of uninspiring content, is not likely to achieve this goal. For help with creating an original resume that targets each opportunity contact your friendly neighborhood Employment Service Centre (Beacon Community Service, GT Hiring or Worklink)