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Most people will tell you not to use a resume template, but the fact is that most people do. It's a quick and easy way to create a resume, allowing you to focus on what's most important: the content. The downside is that your resume will look like all the rest. Fortunately, there's a balance, if you know how to use these templates resourcefully. Consider these five tips for getting your resume in line:
1. Don't color inside the lines. Just because something is formatted a certain way in a template doesn't mean you have to keep it that way. Use it as a guideline and idea generator, then play by your own rules.
Are you using a template for a chronological resume? Mash it up to create a combination resume that better illustrates your skills. Don't like the font? Change it. Add a border. Take away the section dividers. Make the template your own.
2. Go off the beaten path. Many people use Microsoft Word templates. So find another less-used template to stand out. Even looking on Google Docs can give you some templates that are slightly different from the norm.
3. Make your own. You can look at a variety of templates for ideas, then build your own without filling in the blanks. Cut and paste the parts you like into a new document, and make sure your end product looks cohesive (with the same font and size throughout) and attractive.
4. Use resume builders. Most job boards offer their own resume generators that give you the opportunity to fill in blanks using your information. It might be easier to use these generators since most of your job applications will be done through sites like these, even if it means a little extra work up front.
Some text files and PDFs don't render well when uploaded to job sites,...