The most searched resume keywords inevitably contain “free” or “template”. Nobody wants to pay for something they think they can do themselves. A quick search will reveal dozens of different services and websites that offer free assistance in writing your own resume. But before you decide to sign up for any of these services, you should find out about them first. As in any industry, writing a resume has its downsides.
One of the most common free resume template services involves an application where you fill in your information such as name, education, work experience, etc. and the application automatically fills it into a ready-made template. But before you’re allowed to save or print your document, you’ll be asked to pay a small, negligible fee, often around $2, or sometimes provide your credit card information for a “free” trial that you can ostensibly cancel at any time. Not too bad for something other people pay hundreds of dollars for, right? think again
Hidden deep in the fine print that no one seems to read anymore anyway is the agreement you made to be billed for an auto-renewing subscription service. Before you know it, your credit card is being charged $40, $50, or even more every month. If you look at some of the consumer reviews for some of these “free” resume services, you’ll see that unfortunately, many people don’t pay very close attention to their credit card statements, and these recurring charges may end up being more than a year. What you thought was “free” or just a few dollars turns out to be several hundred dollars or more depending on when you become aware of the fraudulent charges.
Often times, you’ll have little to no luck contesting the charges with your bank or credit card company. If the charges recur on your account, you will be deemed to have consented to them. This is another good reminder to always keep a close eye on your debit and credit card balances. And good luck trying to dispute the charges with the actual company via phone or email. Why would they want to give you the time of day to cancel fees when hidden fees and surcharges are their bread and butter? Always be suspicious of companies without a verifiable physical address and do your consumer research beforehand.
Many people who want to get a resume written are unemployed and want to save money wherever they can. So they turn to “free” resume building sites, which they believe will improve their chances of getting interviews. The sad reality is that there are many companies whose entire business model is based around scamming the poor and destitute with hidden fees and a subpar product. If you’re looking for help writing your resume, always do your research before giving out credit card information. Also, ask friends and family what has worked best for them. Legitimate, professional resume writing services may not be for everyone, but they help many job seekers. Sometimes the initial investment is worth the reward. A well-written, effective resume could mean the difference between you getting a new job in the next few weeks and getting a job in the next few months, and all of those lost earnings add up.
Actually Free Resume Templates
It’s likely that you already have resume templates installed on your word processing software. There are many places where you can legally download them for free online and just fill in the required information yourself. For many people, this is the end of resume writing. Write down a simple goal, name the school you attended, describe your work experience, and list any certifications. The problem is that while templates can give you a basic format outline, they don’t tell you what to actually write inside or how to write it. Just as everyone is different, every resume should be different.
Remember, free resume templates are designed to get your attention, not the attention of those who really matter, such as business people. B. HR managers and recruiters. They might try to wow you with different fonts, graphics, and colors, but that’s not what employers are looking for. You may think that using a unique resume template will make you look interesting, creative and eye-catching, but in the eyes of the hiring authority it will be crystal clear that you just used another generic resume template.
When I was previously in charge of hiring, one of my most memorable examples was a person who described himself as a “creative guy” and “Microsoft Office proficient”. Their resume formatting and style was certainly a bit unusual, but it was also obvious that they were using a fairly standard resume template. Why would I want to hire someone who says they’re “creative” and “Microsoft Office proficient” when they can’t even format their own resume?
When considering CVs, hiring authorities want documents that are simple, clean and straight to the point. In a competitive job market, a human resource representative can sift through hundreds of resumes for a single position. They don’t spend too much time with each one, usually just a quick look before deciding if it goes to the trash or if the candidate needs a closer look.
A final caveat about free resume templates is how compliant they are with the Applicant Tracking System (ATS). Many companies, especially large corporations, use the ATS software to pre-select applicants. This software searches the document for things like experience level, skills, certifications, educational background, industry keywords, and more. If you have an oddly formatted resume, it will be difficult for the software to read your resume. Even if you are the perfect candidate and have an otherwise well-written resume, it may be thrown in the trash before a pair of human eyes ever really look at it.