Resume Help/Resume templates



I'm putting together my resume (I will graduate in a month) to start a job search.  I know I probably should have started earlier, but now I need something to get this done in a hurry.  Can you recommend some good sources for resume templates?  There seems to be a lot of sites that have them and I don't know which to choose.  Thank you for your help.

Hi JD,

You are correct that there are a lot of resume templates out there.  In answer to your question, I recommend none of them.  That may not be what you want to hear, but if you really want to put together a professional document, you need to put a lot of thought into it, you need to construct it yourself (since it is, after all, a representation of you), and, most importantly you need to have a different one for each job application.

Let me take these issues one at a time.  First, the thought that you need to give to this project is based on two factors: the qualifications, skills, and education you possess, and the needs that the employer has in filling a particular position.  The reason that I do not recommend resume templates is that they require little in the way of thought; they are mostly fill-in-the-blank forms designed by graphic designers.  These folks are usually quite good at design concepts, formatting, and other visual ideas.  But that is NOT the purpose of a resume and you are not going to be hired on the basis of how "cool" your resume looks.  The purpose of a resume is to give the employer a brief but complete snapshot of your ability to fill their vacant position.  They want to know that you have given thought to the job they are offering, but when you send them a filled-in template you are saying, fundamentally, you are too lazy to design your own resume.  If your work ethic isn't any more ambitious than that, why would they be interested in hiring you?

So, since you are going to build this from the ground up, there are formatting options that employers tell me work very well in capturing their attention.  What I am going to recommend you do is build a resume as best you can and then send it to me.  Attach it to an email and send it to the address below.  I will be happy to give you a free evaluation of the document and recommend ways that you can strengthen it.  I think that is preferable to me giving you a long list of things to do here.  

Why a different one for every job?  Simply because every job has its own requirements and needs.  If one employer is most interested in your ability to do ABC and another wants you to do XYZ, it doesn't make much sense to send them exactly the same resume, does it?  Often, you won't have to make major adjustments but rather rearrange or reword certain items to make it fit the qualifications required for any particular job.  Sometimes, however, you'll need to make wholesale revisions to match your resume to the employers job requirements.  Sometimes applicants will tell me that they see no need to have different resumes.  After all, no matter what job they apply for, they are the same person with the same skills so why would they need to change anything?  On the surface, this sounds like a reasonable argument.  You are, indeed, the same person no matter which job you apply for.  But one employer is not the same as every other employer and your job application is not only about you; it is also about the institution considering you and the needs they have to fill.  

So, get to work and put something together that demonstrates your job experience, education, and other pertinent information.  Don't try to make it "perfect," just get it down and let me take a look at it.  When you send it, put "Resume" in the subject line so I don't accidentally delete it.  I look forward to working on this with you!

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Ralph D. Converse, Ph.D.


I can answer questions about general job searches, resume construction, crafting an effective cover letter, and how to prepare for, and conduct, a winning interview. My speciality is the field of education, but I also have extensive background in business and administration. I know what works and what doesn't work and I can make your application package stand out from the rest ... because that is what you have to do.


I have interviewed for, and held, dozens of jobs in a career going back more than 42 years. I have taught at all educational levels including middle school, high school, community college, and university. In more than 42 years of experience on both sides of the job-search process, I have interviewed hundreds of applicants and have reviewed literally tens of thousands of job application packages. I am the author of 12 Mistakes That Got Your Job Application Rejected ... And How To Fix Them! I conduct workshops for job seekers in a variety of locations every year.

Music Educator's Journal, Teaching Music, Music and American Culture (forthcoming, 2013), Last Teacher Standing: The Job is Yours Now! and 12 Mistakes That Got Your Job Application Rejected ... And How To Fix Them!

B.A. New Mexico State University; M.Mus. Southern Illinois University; Ph.D. University of California and University of North Texas

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