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The Downside of Resume Templates: Why They Don’t Work

resume on computer

By Sara San Angelo


In today’s competitive job market, crafting the perfect resume is crucial for landing your dream job. Many job seekers turn to resume templates in hopes of saving time and money to create a professional-looking document. While templates may seem like a convenient solution, they can actually hurt your chances of getting an interview. In this article, we’ll discuss why resume templates don’t work and the importance of understanding the Applicant Tracking System (ATS).

The Problems with Resume Templates:

1. Lack of customization:

Resume templates often come with a predetermined layout and design, which may not be suitable for your specific needs. Employers look for candidates who can effectively showcase their skills and experiences, and a generic template might fail to highlight your unique qualities. By tailoring your resume to each job application, you demonstrate your attention to detail and show that you’re a serious candidate.

2. Common formatting issues:

Although resume templates may look visually appealing, they often have formatting issues that can make it difficult for the Applicant Tracking System (ATS) to read and interpret your information. Problems like inconsistent font styles, improper spacing, or incorrect file formats can lead to your resume being discarded before it’s even seen by a human recruiter.

3. Limited differentiation:

Given the widespread availability of resume templates, chances are that several applicants will use the same template as you. This makes it harder for your resume to stand out among the competition. Instead of blending in with the crowd, consider creating a unique resume that reflects your personal brand and highlights your strengths.

Understanding the Applicant Tracking System (ATS):

The Applicant Tracking System (ATS) is a software tool used by many companies to manage and streamline their recruitment process. It automates the initial screening of resumes, filtering out unsuitable candidates based on keywords, formatting, and other criteria. With the majority of large companies using ATS, it’s essential to optimize your resume for ATS compatibility.

Why Resume Templates Fail with ATS:

1. Incompatible design elements:

Many resume templates include design elements such as graphics, tables, and columns, which can interfere with the ATS’s ability to parse your information. These features may look visually appealing, but they can cause your resume to be incorrectly formatted or even unreadable by the ATS, reducing your chances of being considered for the position.

2. Keyword optimization:

Resume templates often lack industry-specific keywords that are essential for getting past the ATS. Since the ATS filters resumes based on specific keywords related to the job description, your resume must include these terms to be considered for the position. Templates may not account for this, putting you at a disadvantage when competing against other applicants who have optimized their resumes for the ATS.

3. Lack of personalization:

Resume templates typically contain generic language and phrases, which may not accurately represent your unique experiences and accomplishments. The ATS is designed to recognize specific details that match the job description, so your resume needs to be tailored to each application to maximize your chances of being noticed.


While resume templates may seem like a quick and easy solution, they often fall short when it comes to ATS compatibility and personalization. Holy City Resume Services has custom templates and ensures inclusion of keywords that will land you an interview! Call or email today for more information and rates.

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