Basic and Simple Resume Templates for Traditional and Conservative Jobs
Updated : August 4th, 2022
When it comes to developing a professional resume from scratch, you have a myriad of choices–various formats, designs, and approaches exist that can help you develop the resume that’s right for you and for the position you’re seeking. While it’s certainly helpful to have those resources, sometimes the sheer number of resume choices you have may make it difficult to know where to start when creating your own unique resume. Follow these guidelines for choosing a simple resume template when applying for jobs in more traditional and conservative fields.
7 Rules for Basic and Simple Resume Templates
- Straightforward Formatting
- Minimal Color
- Traditional and Easy-to-Read Font
- Chronological Order
- No Graphics or Photos
- No More than One Page
- Tailored for the Position
Simplicity reigns when it comes to presenting your career history for recruiters and hiring managers within more traditional or conservative fields. After all, some studies indicate that the average amount of time a hiring manager or recruiter spends reading a resume is six seconds, so you need to make them count. You can let your experience and accomplishments be the “wow” factor rather than relying on clever design, formatting, or bells and whistles that a more formal industry may find distracting.
Focus on keeping things simple and clean. Taking your cues from your desired industry can help. For example, if you’re looking for a position within a traditional or relatively conservative field – like accounting, finance, or law – you’re most likely to be successful with a traditional and straightforward type of resume.
7 Rules for Basic and Simple Resume Templates
Each of these guidelines is designed to keep your resume template clear, simple, and professional so that your skills and experience have an opportunity to shine. Anything else is simply a distraction that could potentially work against you.
1. Straightforward Formatting
Hiring managers in traditional or conservative fields are often turned off by fancy formats, professionally designed resumes, or even new technology. You’ll want to follow long-accepted standards of resume layout, such as clearly marked section headings, bulleted information, and a clean, minimalist style to make sure your resume reflects the traditional values of the hiring organization. Try to make effective use of white space as well. Don’t be tempted to include so much detailed information that readability suffers or that your page seems cramped. It’s tempting for a hiring manager to disregard a resume with cramped, cluttered text that looks overwhelming to read.
Be sure also to avoid obscuring your most relevant skills or professional experience with ornate or elaborate formatting. Overall, you want to make sure your formatting is invisible to the hiring manager. It shouldn’t stand out enough to serve as a distraction since you want the reader focused on you–your abilities, your skills, and your fit for the position. Since you’re applying within a conservative field, you want to make sure your resume reflects the fact that you take the position seriously and are showing respect for long-standing company and industry traditions.
2. Minimal Color
Whether to use color in a resume template can be a controversial topic. Some experts advocate for the strategic use of color in order to add visual interest or to help guide readability. However, if you’re applying for a position within a conservative field, it’s best to err on the side of caution. Try to keep your resume in black type on a neutral paper stock: white, cream, or ivory. This is not the time to be creative with your choice of paper color. A traditional, clean resume presentation is clear and easy to read, which keeps the needs of your reader in mind.
If you decide you want to go for a little color, make sure to use a light touch. A hiring manager for a law or accounting firm is unlikely to hang on to a bright green resume, but she might be intrigued by the effective use of light blue, gray, or beige to break up sections of the resume and enhance readability. Steer clear of bright or neon colors at all costs–these are almost universally considered distracting and will only serve to alienate the reader. Furthermore, the non-traditional use of color within resumes is often considered unprofessional as a practice in many more conservative fields.
Ultimately, if color can enhance your content and push it to center stage, you might consider adding some neutral, tasteful tones. But if your use of color has the potential to distract from your story, you’d be better served by steering clear of it. Unless you’re applying for a job that requires you to demonstrate your graphic design skills, you want to create a resume that is muted and highly readable.
3. Traditional and Easy-to-Read Font
Think carefully about the font you use. This isn’t the best time to go for something distinct or memorable at the cost of readability. Many resume writers use sans-serif fonts for their templates, which are clean and easy to read. However, serif versions like Times New Roman are also popular and boast high readability. Keep your font size between 10-12 points. Don’t be tempted to go larger to stretch your content or smaller in order to squeeze in more information. If you’re using software, such as Microsoft Word, be sure to run the spell check tool. Above all, have someone else look over your finished resume to make sure it’s clean and easy to read.
4. Chronological Order
A chronological resume format is the most typical of all resume formats and presents work experience starting with the most recent and working backward in time from there. This layout often includes a summary statement as well that introduces the work history section. Also known as a reverse-chronological resume, this format is widely accepted by recruiters and hiring managers because it is so intuitive. Though the organization is simple and uniform, you do have some freedom to adjust the specifics, depending on your background and level of experience. You’ll present each of your career positions, including dates of employment, title and major responsibilities, and accomplishments. Try to use bullet points if you’re listing more than three elements and focus as much as possible on how you’ve contributed to each organization’s success.
Presenting your information in this traditional layout allows hiring managers and potential employers to quickly and easily scan your resume to get the information they need. Since the ultimate goal of your resume is to emphasize or highlight your qualifications and convince the hiring manager to grant you an interview, this format can work greatly in your favor. It helps demonstrate logical career growth and lets potential employers know how long you’ve spent at various positions before moving on. The reader can tell quickly whether you have frequently changed jobs, are new to the field, or have advanced within your industry based on career accomplishments.
Above all, keep things clean and simple, and try to keep your resume to one page. Forego any jobs or other experience that don’t have a strong connection or build an appropriate history for the position you’re seeking–adding extraneous information simply clutters the page and makes it harder for the hiring manager to find the most pertinent information you’re presenting. The chronological resume format is exceptional at telling a progressive story, so this is especially effective if you’ve worked within the same industry over your career and can show a consistent progression throughout your work history.
5. No Graphics or Photos
This is yet another hotly contested issue, especially for the corporate designer. Ultimately, the decision to include your photo is an individual one, but many hiring managers advise against doing so. Their concern is that providing your image can inadvertently open the door to various forms of discrimination and/or unconscious bias, especially if you are a member of a protected class. These concerns aside, photos and graphics included as part of a more conservative resume template run the risk of providing distraction rather than augmenting or complementing your story–which is your number one goal. If you keep in mind that a hiring manager or recruiter is likely to spend only around six seconds reviewing your curriculum vitae, try to keep those six seconds focused entirely on the skills, experiences, and accomplishments you’ll bring to the position. Your cv resume is not the place to flaunt your Photoshop skills unless that’s a key requirement for the position (such as graphic designer). Instead, it’s best to save your photo for networking on social media.
6. No More Than One Page
Overall, a traditional, one-page resume works for most candidates for most positions in most industries. However, for more traditional fields, you’ll want to strictly abide by this guideline. In fact, many employers may even specify a one-page resume within their job descriptions, so look for this clue to make sure you’re submitting exactly what’s requested. If you’re applying for your first job, the one-page resume requirement works in your favor since you’ll have limited work experience. If you have more experience, forcing yourself to stick to one page can help you simplify, ensuring that only the most salient information is provided for the position you’re seeking. This makes for a much more streamlined process for the hiring manager.
For the most part, hiring managers don’t want to read any more than necessary. Keep in mind that they’re often wading through dozens–sometimes hundreds–of different resumes, and a two-page resume or more can seem overwhelming. Don’t overtax them. Instead, make it easy for them to notice and understand your most important information.
7. Tailored for the Position
Above all, the way you present yourself will depend on where you want your career to go. Take the time to thoroughly review the job description and any other materials a recruiter or hiring manager may have shared with you. Make sure to match the elements of your career history with what the hiring manager is seeking. Resist the temptation to include extraneous information that doesn’t help you tell that story. In other words, write for the position you’re seeking rather than simply regurgitating your job history. Begin with the end in mind. That said, you don’t need to create your resume from scratch. Download a professionally designed resume template that has the key features you require.
When to Choose a Simple Resume Layout
With your professional resume, you have a very small window to clearly and professionally present the qualifications and accomplishments you will bring to the position. Follow these guidelines to help you present yourself in the best light when applying for a job in a conservative field. Make every effort to tailor your resume template to the specific position for which you’re applying.
Keep things simple and you’ll be in good shape for presenting a clear and professional resume. You may not get hired based solely on your resume format, but having a simple resume that paints a clear picture of your career history, expertise, and professional accomplishments can help convince a hiring manager or recruiter that you’re someone worth interviewing.resume building, resume writing tips
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