If you're looking for a DIY solution for formatting your resume, we've rounded up our favorite, free, copy-paste resume templates from Google Docs.

Hiring managers can receive hundreds of applications for a single position, and they often spend just seconds reviewing each resume. That means you need to make a professional first impression – fast. A sloppy and disorganized layout can quickly undo all the effort you put into writing a great resume, and that's where a template can help.

Resume templates are pre-made designs that allow you to plug in your information without worrying about formatting issues like line length or color scheme. Google Docs, one of the world's most popular word processors, offers five free resume templates that you can modify online and download for your next application. Let's evaluate each option to see which one is right for you.

1. “Swiss” – a minimalist template with a touch of color

The Google Docs Swiss template doesn't stray far from the classic, stripped-down Google look with its Raleway font headings and bold section titles. The two-column structure gives the template an airy feel by allowing for a large amount of white space on the left side. Vibrant orange is the default accent color used to call attention to your job title and contact information, but this can be easily changed within the Docs editor. 

The Swiss template begins with the skills section, suggesting it may be the best choice for those with particular areas of expertise that they don't want the hiring manager to miss, like IT professionals. However, the skills section could be replaced by a summary section making the template more useful to a variety of professionals.

Pros: Simplistic design, easy to read

Cons: Lacks the space for a detailed employment history section

2. “Serif” – a traditional look with a variety of sections

Serif is the most classic option in the Google Docs resume template family, with a large header for your name and contact information at the top of the page and an uneven, two-column structure that places the emphasis on the experience section. The Merriweather serif font projects seriousness and expertise, while the blue section titles add a touch of color without straying too far from the professional look.

The advantage of the Serif template is its variety of sections – six in total – that can be adjusted for your particular needs. Sections like awards, languages, and projects make this template suitable for those further along in their careers and in more traditional sectors like education, healthcare, law, or business.

Pros: Contains the most section titles of any Google Docs template

Cons: May be too uptight for some professions

3. “Coral” – a basic template with a playful feel

If you're in need of the bare essentials, the Coral template was made for you. The header makes a friendly introduction, starting with “Hello, I'm [Your Name]” followed by space for no-frills contact details. The quirky Playfair font and coral accent color contrast with the simplified feel of the rest of the template. The one-column structure means you can write as little or as much as you'd like without worrying about line spacing.

While this resume template opens with the skills section, it could be easily adapted for students by moving the education section to the top. There's a default awards section which could be converted to a summary or languages section depending on your needs. This template is best suited for those in independent or creative fields where a bright pop of color will be appreciated. Changing the accent color could also make this template the perfect choice for entry-level applicants and first-time job seekers.

Pros: Easily adapted for entry-level jobs

Cons: Font and color could be too quirky for some professionals

4. “Spearmint” – a modern template that's spacious and bold 

Sometimes bland won't cut it, and that's where Spearmint comes in. The top of the page features a thick, green line to signal that this resume won't be like the others. The font size for your name is larger-than-life and the left-aligned contact information means the hiring manager can't miss it. The bright green section titles add energy and a sense of confidence to the page.

Spearmint features a one-column layout that offers plenty of space for work experience, skills, and education, making it best suited for candidates further into their careers. It's the perfect resume template for those whose jobs require innovation and a bold approach. Designers, architects, media and marketing professionals, and other creatives will find that Spearmint gives them plenty of space to discuss their most impressive ideas.

Pros: Makes a statement with font, colors, and bold lines

Cons: Hard to adapt for entry-level candidates

5. “Modern Writer” – a unique, retro template to make a statement

Ironically, Modern Writer is the most vintage-feeling of the Google Docs resume templates. Roboto Condensed, a typewriter-reminiscent font, gives a touch of whimsy while still managing to remain creative and purposeful. The header differentiates itself from the other templates in that it places your name below the contact information. A solid line separates the header from the rest of the resume. The pink accent color tones down the seriousness of the typewriter font to give the resume a jovial feel.

As the name suggests, Modern Writer is a great choice for authors and writers of all sorts, but the template could also be used for designers and other creative or independent professionals. The single-column structure is similar to Spearmint and Coral, but the small font size means there's plenty of space to expand on your experience.

Pros: A unique style, plenty of writing space

Cons: Too eccentric for a wide range of professions

Advantages and disadvantages of creating a Google Docs resume

Creating a resume from scratch is a tedious process. Tools like Microsoft Word aren't well adapted to the formatting flexibility needed to create two-or-more columns in a single document, making it difficult to rearrange sections and keep even spacing. Programs like Adobe Photoshop or InDesign are slightly better for creating page layouts, but require advanced knowledge or a steep learning curve for those who aren't already graphic designers.

Google Docs resume templates solve these problems by offering a pre-made format where you can simply replace the sample text with your own information and keep consistent spacing, fonts, and font sizes throughout your document. Since many people are already familiar with the Google Docs toolbar, small changes to colors and fonts can be done quickly and easily. Theoretically, you could create a complete resume, download it, and submit a job application in under an hour.

If only it were so simple. 

Unfortunately, there are also disadvantages when it comes to creating a Google Docs resume. First, there are only five templates to choose from, meaning that your “unique resume” might have the exact same look as dozens of other candidates. In fact, hiring managers are used to seeing Google Docs resume templates and may even recognize the particular style right off the bat. Whether or not that will negatively affect your application depends on the preference of the individual hiring manager.

Another drawback is the Google Docs interface itself. While the templates are easy to fill in, the structure of the document is rather rigid. Try to move the skills section from the right-hand column to the bottom, for example, and you'll soon find yourself with a scrambled mess of a resume.

Alternatives to Google Docs resume templates

The final disadvantage of a Google Docs resume template is a shortcoming of resume templates and builders overall – they can help you decide where to put information, but they can't help you decide what to write. How you convey your skills and experience is the crucial factor which will determine whether or not you land the interview or the job.

Before a hiring manager can evaluate your layout or writing, resumes submitted online will pass through Applicant Tracking Systems or ATS. These resume scanners look for keywords that are skills or qualifications the employer has deemed essential for the role. Applicants are ranked against each other and only the top scoring resumes are passed onto the hiring manager for review. Seventy-five percent of resumes don't make it past this stage, which means hours of time spent crafting the perfect resume have amounted to nothing.

Luckily, there are statistically-proven ways to reduce the chances of this happening to you. Almost 70 percent of job-seekers who choose to work with a professional resume writer find a new job within 90 days. Professional resume writing services like TopResume focus on keyword optimization while emphasizing your unique experience and skill set in order to craft a resume that beats the ATS and impresses the hiring manager.

Find out how your resume stacks up and the steps you can take to land more interviews. Request a free review from TopResume today!

Recommended reading

Related Articles: