How to Make a Resume Template and Apply to Jobs Faster

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published June 4, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Almost any job one might apply for asks for a resume. This means the application process can be time-consuming, as even jobs in the same field can have different application requirements. By developing an adaptable resume template, applying for jobs can go much faster. In this article, we discuss how to make resume templates, the value of resume templates, and review an alternative to making your own.

How to make a resume template

Most users may find or create a resume template through Microsoft Word. Word and similar programs usually streamline the template process, offering you a wide variety of options and also allowing you to download more options online. The basic steps to learn how to make a resume template include:

1. Decide on a basic format

There are many resume formats to choose from, but most applicants may choose one of three formats:

  • Chronological: Chronological resumes organize your work history and experience in reverse-chronological order, starting with the most recent position. This style is simple and professional, and is best for applicants that have significant experience and no gaps in their employment history.

  • Functional: A functional resume highlights experience and skills over job history. It may be an excellent choice for applicants with no relevant job experience, but who have relevant skills and achievements that make them an otherwise strong candidate.

  • Combination: This resume format is a combination of the previous two formats, balancing emphasizing work history and one's relevant skills. Usually, an individual first highlights their relevant skills, experience, and accolades, then supports this first section with a reverse-chronological work history.

The right format for an applicant largely depends on their own strengths and the emphases on the job posting. Applying for a higher level position benefits from an emphasis on work history, as the employer likely wants an experienced professional for the position. Resumes for lower or entry-level positions vary. Some employers may look for skills and education, with less focus on history. Others may still want applicants with a history of working in relevant positions. A combination format is excellent for candidates who are strong in both their work history and their education and skills.

2. Choose a design

Once you have decided on a format, you can choose a design. A design is your resume's aesthetic. It might make a resume look better to an employer, beyond the details you include. There are many ways you can approach a resume's design, but some of the most common include:

  • Basic: A basic design is simple in its formatting and layout, making it ideal for people unfamiliar with the program they've chosen to create their template on. Resumes with little detail, such as the resume of someone just entering the market, work well with this design.

  • Elegant: An elegant design is likely the most common choice among applicants using templates. This design approach makes it easy to include several lengthy sections and uses some colour and design features, while retaining a professional look.

  • Two-page: A two-page resume may be beneficial for upper management and similarly high-level positions. It helps highlight applicants with a significant amount of work experience.

  • Creative: A creative resume is one that uses colour, unusual formatting, and embellishments. A creative design allows those in art and similar fields to show hiring managers their talent and artistic approach.

The primary goal of most resumes is conveying a candidate's strengths in a way that is concise, appealing to the eye, and easy to read. The ideal design approach depends on you, the type of field you wish to enter, and the specific companies you apply to. A resume for someone in senior, upper management may look very different compared to the resume of someone new to the job market. Both individuals have different strengths and are likely to apply for different positions.

3. Consider your section choice

Once you have decided on the ideal approach in terms of design, you then break your template into sections. Most resumes may include:

  • Objective or summary statement

  • Work history

  • Key skills and qualifications

  • Education

Most pre-made templates add these sections for you, while also allowing you to move, insert, or remove sections. Many applicants add other sections that may contribute to their appeal as a candidate. For example, they might want to list awards and other distinctions they've earned. Noteworthy volunteering experience, such as serving on a board or playing a significant role in a charity group, can also be worth noting. Applicants newer to the market may list hobbies or unique skills.

4. Thoroughly review the job posting

At this stage, a template is essentially complete. Save your template and then look at the postings you have an interest in. Read them thoroughly, checking for particular details they want applicants to include or that you think might appeal to the company. You can add these sections to your template, or you can fill your template out and add new sections later in the writing process. These decisions rely primarily on your preferences, rather than specific hiring norms.

Related: What Makes a Good Job Applicant and How to Become One

5. Fill out your resume

Once you have a template you like, you can fill it out based on the positions you are pursuing. By using a template customized to your needs, you can now save significant time throughout the application process. Once filled out, you can save your resume and use that information later if you decide a particular application requires a different format. You can add or remove information from the resume easily, changing elements of the resume while maintaining what you wrote in the format you prefer.

A major benefit of a resume written with a template is the ease of customizability. This is a built-in feature of templates, especially a pre-designed one, so that you almost never spend more than several minutes creating a resume for a particular position. Instead, you can load your preferred template, get most of the relevant information from a previous resume, and make any changes you think might benefit your new application.

Related: 10 Resume Attributes to Include in Your Job Application

6. Proofread the document

Reviewing your template and any resume made using it may be beneficial. If you accidentally misspell a word or misformat a template, catching it quickly prevents you from having an identical error in resumes you create using that same template. For similar reasons, reviewing any resumes you create also helps you produce quality resumes and ensure any content you copy and paste is error-free. Remember that a hiring manager may compare your resume to hundreds of similar applications. Avoiding spelling errors and odd formatting allows them to focus on a resume's contents.

7. Save and use as desired

At this stage, your template and documents created using it are ready for the application process. Save them in their finished form, with names that make them easy to find and identify. You may also want to erase working copies of any templates or older documents that you have confirmed are irrelevant. You now have a powerful digital tool that can help you quickly produce and edit resumes. If you update them annually, your template and resumes can remain relevant indefinitely.

Why use a resume template?

Resume templates are excellent tools for people who intend to apply for several positions at once. Some job searches can take weeks or months and may involve dozens or more application submissions. Many of these positions may differ in what they want from an ideal candidate. This means a different, sometimes radically different, resumes often benefit an applicant in highlighting elements of their history that are most suited to a position. A resume template simplifies this process, providing a framework to produce new resumes quickly.

Related: How to Write a Compelling Resume Using Resume Templates

Using free templates

If you don't want to make a template, that doesn't mean you can't take advantage of one. Most major word processors, especially Microsoft Word, have several high quality resume templates suited to most people's needs. It is also possible to download specific resume formats online. You can try new officially created formats or can check what other users have made. Sometimes user-made templates can fill very specific niches, helping you produce resumes suited to certain positions.

Please note that none of the organizations mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

Explore more articles