The Truth About Resume Templates

I’ve seen more than a few resume writers who claim that they don’t use resume templates and that every resume is written completely from scratch. It’s a bit confusing to me because I don’t really see any benefit to not using a template. I have a dozen or so resume design frameworks that I use for about 90% of the clients I work with…because they work! It makes very little sense to start with a blank Word doc and just wing it, creating text boxes and experimenting with borders and fonts as I go along, because I know that I have a file full of “templates” that make the writing process much, much easier.

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Imagine if your tax accountant told you that he wasn’t going to use some of the tried and true forms or worksheets to file your taxes. Or your home builder wasn’t going to build your home using plans for similar homes in the subdivision. I’d question their sanity because they’re making their jobs much more difficult than it has to be.

Now I can assure you that 100% of the content is completely unique and that the strategy in place to make the resume stand out is uniquely tailored to your specific background in goals. True professionals use tools…and know how to customize them appropriately for each client. Using a design framework saves time, and ultimately for the client, money. If I had to start each resume project with a blank Word doc, I’d have to double my prices because it would take twice as long to complete each project.

So if you ever hear a writer say that their firm doesn’t use resume templates. Ask why not.

What a Middle Reliever Can Teach You About Resumes

Recognize the guy in the picture above? Probably not, but we could all probably learn a thing or two from a guy who has a multimillion-dollar contract but only “works” about 80 hours a year.

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Randy Choate is a left-handed relief pitcher for the Miami Marlins who is primarily called upon in the seventh or eighth inning of a close game to face one or two of the opposing team’s left-handed hitters. In other words, he is the epitomy of a specialist, and has made a career out of doing one thing extremely well. How have the Marlins rewarded this guy who may only pitch 60-70 innings per year? They pay him a salary of $1.5 million because they know that in the right situation, he is the best person suited for the job.

What in the world does this have to do with resumes?

Companies are looking for specialists – people who can handle specific functions and perform them extremely well. If your resume presents you as somebody who is a “jack of all trades”, you’re doing more harm than good. When applying to different positions, think about the one thing that they really want you to be able to do well, and make that the focus of your cover letter and the Summary of Qualification of your resume. Show them that your background and skill set uniquely position you to help with the problem that they need solved.

Now, I guess I should go back and say that with off-season work-outs, spring training, in-season practice, traveling with the team, sitting in the bullpen, etc., Randy Choate works way more than 80 hours a year. But come on, he’s a baseball player. Who pitches a max of 70 innings per year. And makes well over $1 million a year.