Professional Resume Templates 2017: Tips, Formats, and More
In a small city, the average job opening receives anywhere between 20 and 100 applicants. In a big city, that number can be as high as 1,000. If the employer is popular and well known, some businesses have reported receiving almost 10,000 applications.
With so many applicants for each open position, standing out is now more difficult than ever before. In the past, experts recommended using a basic template, because you generally do not want the template to speak for you. But times have changed. There are now highly professional resume template examples that are more creative, better designed, and capable of landing you the job.
The New Creative Professional Resume Templates
You are a working professional. That means that you need a resume that shows off your professional attributes. If you use the same basic resume that those without significant job experience use, you’re going to find that your resume template is going to be viewed in the exact same way – as though you do not have as much job experience.
There are now resumes that do much better speaking for you – resumes that are designed for professionals, with features that make them more advantageous to those with real work histories, and those that are trying to grow within the professional world.
There is still some truth to the idea that you don’t want your resume template to speak for you. It is the information on the resume that is supposed to make the best possible impact with employers, and you never want your resume template to be a distraction from the content of the resume itself.
But that does not mean you can’t consider a creative professional resume template. Indeed, these days, you may need it. The vast majority of resumes that hiring managers receive are the same free resume templates available through Microsoft Word. These templates are not only unoriginal, they are also:
- Cosmetically Insufficient
- Not Customizable
They are the same exact resume used by high school students that have never before held a job. By choosing one of those resumes, you are limiting yourself to a resume that often does a poor job proving to employers how and why you will be a great asset to their organization.
In addition, modern professional resume templates have come a long way, especially with the advancements in graphic design. While in the not-too-distant past, any resume that had unique design elements tended to look bulky, and not at all aesthetically pleasing.
But now, the software to create these resumes is clean, and designers can now make unique resumes that provide ample space for your information, and special design elements that make more of an impact with hiring managers. Current professional resume templates have space to actually showcase your best possible information, which is the entire purpose of a resume: to have a sales sheet of your best attributes in order to get yourself the job.
Design Elements of New Professional Resume Templates
For those that are seeking out a professional resume template, there are countless new and interesting design elements that can help your resume speak for you in a more positive, effective way. Those that use them can create a resume built for working professionals.
There are many features that go into a professional resume template format. Although they share the same sections of other features, their design, their layout choices, and so much more all lend themselves to greater amounts of professionalism. In general, professional resume templates are almost always combination resumes – rather than chronological resumes or functional resumes. They are laid out in the following order:
- Name and Contact Information
- Professional Summary
- Skills Section
- Employment History
There are a few things to note about this layout. First, for those that have written resumes before, you’ll notice that professional resume templates almost always have a professional summary, not an objective statement. While you can still place an objective statement – especially if you have a real objective – most professionals benefit from the professional summary, which is a longer paragraph of qualifications and some of the most important highlights for the rest of the resume.
In addition, you’ll notice a skills section. This is a feature of combination resumes. The skills section is a section where you can list some of what you are best at, without focusing on where you learned it or what you achieved with it.
For example, let’s say you’re in data analytics, and over your past 3 jobs you’ve worked with SPSS, SAS, R, Oracle, Excel, and SQL (it’s okay if you don’t know what those are, but bear with us). Normally, in a traditional resume, in order to show employers that you’ve used those programs, you have to list them underneath the jobs in your work history section.
But what if one you learned in college, one you learned at home, one you learned at a job 3 years prior? You’d be forced to split it up under each description, and possibly lose the impact that it makes with the hiring manager. In a skills section, however, you can list it like so:
“Fluent in SPSS, SAS, R, Oracle, Excel, and SQL”
This then allows you to create one impactful statement that shows hiring managers how skilled you are with data analysis software. You also then save space under the work history section, which you can then use to talk about achievements, such as:
“Analyzed 1,234 financial reports and found $10,000,000 in misappropriated funds.”
By adding the skills section, working professionals finally have a way to show employers what they know and what they’re good at, while still using the traditional employment history section the way that it was intended to be used.
The Modern Advancements in Professional Resumes
Still, as mentioned, resumes have advanced considerably. There are many creative professional resume templates that allow for even further design elements, in a way that may help you impress hiring managers considerably. Some of these include:
- Graphs and Charts – Some resume templates now integrate some form of graph, chart, or related graphic into the resume. For example, they may share a skill such as “94% accuracy rate” and beneath the skill they have a small graphic that shows 94% out of 100 in chart form. This allows the hiring manager to better visualize the person’s skills and abilities.
- Professional Photo Spaces – Some professional resume templates now have space for a photo. This is not always advised, as photos can trigger people’s biases (too young, too old, race, religion, gender, etc.), but in some select careers, especially interpersonal careers, the idea of placing a professional photo may make sense.
- Twists on a Traditional Design – Not all of the elements of new, modern professional resumes are that inventive. Some are simply twists on traditionalist designs. For example, there are many highly effective resumes that put the contact information on the side, rather than on the top, freeing up space for both more contact information (personal website, LinkedIn, etc.) and more information in the work history section.
- Graphics – Many resumes also now integrate graphics. Over the past several decades, these graphics were frowned upon as a result of poorly made clipart. But now that graphics have improved, so too has their use. An example may be a graduation cap icon next to the education section.
There are other unique elements as well. In addition to a skill section, some people put graphics or designs with “power words” or circles above the skill sections which indicate the absolute best reasons to hire them. They may also put their titles on the top of the resume, almost as though they have the job already, such as:
These are all small changes to the traditional professional resume template format that can still provide a much more impactful, much better resume than traditional templates of the past, and all have only become possible in the last few years when designs became cleaner and more eye-friendly.
What to Consider Before You Select a Professional Resume Template
There is no denying that creative professional resume templates have changed the way that job seekers are able to find work. There are now better resume templates than ever before, complete with more features and the ability to highlight your best information in ways that were simply not possible with resumes of the past.
But not all professional resume samples are created equal. The information still matters. Remember, your resume template is both highly important, and not as important as the information within. Your resume template is important, because it is the first step towards getting people to read further. But if your information doesn’t wow the interviewer, you’re still not going to get a call back.
With that in mind, it’s important to choose a template that will best get you the job, and to do that, you need to find a template that showcases your best possible information.
For example, if you don’t have any numeric data that supports your candidacy, don’t use a resume with graphs. If you don’t have a long list of achievements, don’t choose a resume template that draws the eye towards your workplace achievements. If you don’t have a strong education, don’t choose a template that provides space for an extensive education section.
Instead, choose the resume template that complements your background and your abilities – one that is constructed in such a way that it draws the eye towards information that will have the hiring manager say “I want to give this person a call.”
As you choose your resume template, put special focus on what you believe the person in charge of hiring will want to see. A great test of a template is to find a friend that has never seen your resume, show it to them for 10 seconds, and ask them what they read. This will tell you where the eye is going naturally on the template, and let you know if it the person is reading the information that will give them the most help.
Always remember that your resume is not just a piece of paper. It is your sales sheet for selling you to someone that is ready to invest thousands of dollars into the right employee, and is deciding from a stack of 100 resumes who to call. Always imagine what they are going to look for, and how factors like:
- Job Role/Status
- Pay Expectations, and More
May each play a role in what they want to see from your resume. Someone applying for a job in graphic design is likely going to need to prove through their resume template that they have a designers eye. Someone applying for a low level office position may need to have a resume that shows their organization and professionalism, but without anything that is too flashy.
Those with much less work experience may need a template that simply uses space well, to make the content within look longer and more informative.
Find Your Perfect Resume Template
These factors and more all affect which template to choose, and which is best and right for your needs. But the right professional resume template is out there. Those that are able to find the one that best highlights their abilities, with the right design that is tailored specifically for their professional experience are going to be far more likely to get a call back, and ultimately get the perfect job for them.