For decades the recruitment industry was relatively static, with recruiters having full control of the hiring process. The hiring process involved identifying a vacancy, placing a job advert, screening applicants, conducting interviews, and negotiating an offer. The whole process was largely manual, with vital activities such as resume screening conducted by humans. The success of resumes going through these manual processes was partially dependent on the resumes’ aesthetics and appearance. As a result, the development of templates helped candidates develop resumes that appealed to humans.
Today, the hiring process has undergone a significant transformation. Most processes have been automated, reducing human influence. This transformation has also changed focus points when hiring. For instance, rather than focusing on resumes’ appearance, automated systems are more of data-driven – they are purely interested in the content of the resumes. Besides, these systems lack the mechanisms to decipher information from complex resumes such as those written from templates. This is because template resumes:
Most resume templates downloaded from the internet and those incorporated in Microsoft Word leverage the neatness and prettiness of tables to enhance the aesthetic value of resumes. While this can enhance chances of impressing human recruiters, modern screening software are poor at handling tables. Information in tables is often misinterpreted hence lowering chances of success. DO NOT USE TEMPLATES/TABLES!
Promote the use of graphics
Some templates have slots for candidates to attach graphical information such as charts, graphs, and images. Though these infographics enhance the interpretability of information to humans, applicant tracking systems (ATS) do not process this data. This means any information attached in the resume in the form of infographics is not processed and is considered absent. DO NOT USE GRAPHICS!
Fonts play a key role in enhancing the appearance of resumes. Most resume templates have pre-set fonts for different sections. Hiring systems are poor at handling documents with different fonts. Also, some templates feature cleaver symbols to improve resume appearance. ATSs do not interpret most of these symbols. DO NOT USE DIFFERENT FONTS OR SYMBOLS!
Most screening systems treat multicolumn resumes in a similar way they treat table. Information arranged in multicolumn is rearranged into a single column. The rearrangement process may disrupt the flow of the document hence misconstruing the meaning. This degrades the information hence lowering the possibilities of the application proceeding to the next stage. DO NOT USE MULTICOLUMNS!
Discourage putting information in headers and footers
Another key feature of resume templates is the inclusion of information in headers, footers, and fields. This boosts the professional appearance of resumes. The problem is, recruitment systems do not process anything written in fields, footers, and headers. Like in graphics, putting information in fields, footers, and headers is as well as not including it. DO NOT USE HEADERS or FOOTERS!
Modern resumes are read by humans after computer systems have processed them. These systems work best with single column documents presented in a plain Microsoft Word format. Thus, job seekers should resist the urge to complicate their resumes using templates. It is also important to mention that resume templates make your resume too generic hence preventing you from standing out from the crowd.