30 Free Basic Resume Templates to Download in 2021

Basic doesn’t mean boring –– these professional templates carefully use margin width, paragraph spacing, and font choice to create pleasing formats that capture a hiring manager’s eye. Learn how to create a basic resume that elevates your hiring strengths, and doesn’t overcrowd your professional accomplishments.

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  • Forbes
  • Huffpost
  • Buzzfeed
  • WashingtonPost
  • Lifehacker
  • Glassdoor
  • TheMuse

Basic Resume Templates

  • Traditional Elegance

  • Traditional

  • Proficient

  • Keep it Simple

  • Classic Plain

  • Exemplar

  • Star Showing

  • Big and Bold

  • Hard Worker

  • Time-Honored

  • Performance

  • Out of the Box

  • Clean Columns

  • Centered Traditional

  • Essence

  • Spotlight on Achievements

  • Legal

  • Ready for More

  • Plain Linear

  • Seasoned

  • Economic

  • Goldfish Bowl

  • Button-Down

How to Make a Basic Resume

While there isn’t a road map that dictates the format of a basic resume, there are some unwritten design rules that most templates in this category will follow.

  • Sections: Vertical lines, different fonts and pops of color are commonly used to highlight sections.
  • White Space: Columns, tabs and plenty of white space to make it easy to read.
  • No Graphics or Photos: Void of photos and graphics, but some include simple skill meters.

Now that you’re familiar with these three simple design elements that help build basic but effective resumes, you can determine if a chronological, functional or combination resume format is the best choice to apply these elements.

Our basic resume templates are available in all three formats; just take the time to find the one that best conveys your skills, talents, work experience, education and accomplishments in the best possible light.

  • Chronological resumes: If you want to present your job history as the primary focus, consider a chronological resume. If you decide to use this layout, be sure that you have a steady work history with little to no work gaps and that you spent at least one year at each of your previous roles. You’ll also have one added benefit –– chronological resumes are the most familiar layout and therefore have more downloadable templates and advice articles around them. This is especially well-suited to you if you have over 10 years of experience
  • Functional resumes: If you want to highlight your professional achievements, abilities and work-related skills, you’ll benefit from a functional resume. This layout uses multiple dedicated sections to build up your accomplishments and reduces your formal work history to a very simple timeline. This format is perfect for you if you took a work gap to focus on personal responsibilities such as family, education or wellness.
  • Combination resumes: If you’d like to focus on both your skills and formal work history, use the combination format. This resume is very similar to the chronological resume, except it flip-flops the skills and work experience sections to give your skills priority without stripping information from your previous employment. This is perfect if you have consistent work history, but have worked less than 10 years.

Basic Resume Template Pros and Cons

Basic Resume Pros

  • Universal appeal: Basic resumes typically have a very classic and traditional tone. While they may have touches of color to add emphasis, in general they are designed to have universal appeal. This is of great benefit when applying for multiple jobs with different types of organizations — any of the templates on this page are timeless.
  • Easy to read: A basic resume clearly communicates your job history, work experience, accomplishments and education — in the order you desire. We have free resume templates in the top three resume formats — chronological, functional and combination, to allow you to focus the reader’s attention where you desire.
  • Easy to make: An easy resume layout means you won’t be spending hours trying to figure out intermediate and advanced features of Microsoft Word. Basic layouts are very easy to edit, even if you have never made a resume before.
  • Printer-friendly: The clean layout and simple design of our basic resumes makes printing a breeze; if you are applying for jobs online, or submitting your resume via email, it’s important that you know your resume will print without changing the formatting or length. Basic resumes are printer-friendly so that you don’t have to worry about any unforeseen technical errors ruining your resume.

Basic Resume Cons

  • Can fail to impress: A basic resume is the ideal choice for a conventional job such as bank teller, administrative assistant, sales or paralegal. But if you’re pursuing a job in a creative industry such as marketing, public relations or design, a basic resume strips you of a chance to showcase your creativity in the first stage of the application process. Your resume is a reflection of your job qualifications; a basic resume doesn’t indicate what your personal or professional style is outside of your work history. Your job search would benefit more from using a creative or portfolio resume.
  • Makes errors noticeable: The simple design of a basic resume means there’s nothing to distract the hiring manager from the document’s content. If you carefully proofread your resume before submitting, this shouldn’t be a problem. But if you miss a typo or use inconsistent formatting like alternating paragraph spacing or using an inconsistent font size/color on your document, a basic resume makes the error more visible and can negatively impact your job search.

Additional Basic Resume Templates

  • Plain Divider

  • Bare Bones Minimalistic

  • Font Appeal

  • Sprouting

  • Headliner’s List

  • Credited

  • Ivy League

Basic Resume FAQ

How do I write a basic resume?

A basic resume follows the same writing structure as most standard resumes. You’ll need to include the following information for hiring managers to seriously consider your application:

  1. Your contact information: A hiring manager needs to quickly locate your name and contact information for follow-up if they’re impressed by your qualifications. Placing this information near the top guarantees that a hiring manager can easily contact you.
  2. Your professional summary: Also known as a summary statement or professional profile, this two to three sentence summary introduces your key strengths as an employee and ties them to the specific needs of an open job opportunity.
  3. Your work history: There are a few ways to structure this information based on the resume format you use. The most common method is to highlight your past job title and period of employment, name and location of your former employer, and list three accomplishments or responsibilities for each job.
  4. Job-related skills: This layout depends on your resume format, but most resumes use a simple list structure where you share six to eight soft and hard skills. We compiled a list of hiring managers’ most commonly requested skills to consider adding to your resume.
  5. Education: This is the most formulaic section of your resume and includes a combination of formal degrees, job-training seminars and specialized certifications related to your work.

You can learn more about how to write each of these resume sections by reading our resume-writing guide.

Who needs a basic resume template?

The beauty of a basic resume template is that it’s well-suited for most job seekers. However, you’re well-suited for this simple template if you’re looking for a job in the following industries because the minimal design focuses on your technical skills and professional accomplishments:

  1. Banking
  2. Finance
  3. Administrative
  4. Accounting
  5. Research
  6. Computer software
  7. Health care support
  8. Food service
  9. Retail
  10. Nursing
  11. Statistics
  12. Law
  13. Safety and security
  14. Inventory management

What are the basic categories or sections of a resume?

Both chronological and combination resumes include the following resume sections, although the structure may vary:

  1. Contact information
  2. Summary statement
  3. Skills
  4. Work history
  5. Education

A functional resume includes variations of those sections, but expands its information by using a combination of the following sections.

  1. Summary of qualifications
  2. Experience and skills
  3. Relevant skills
  4. Additional skills

What should a basic resume look like?

A basic resume should look clean, standard and professional. The document design and construction follows the same conventional layout as academic assignments. A basic resume may include some, in not all, of the following design elements.

  1. Standard 1-inch margins
  2. Standard 1.5 or double line-spacing
  3. Conventional fonts (Times New Roman or Arial)
  4. Size 10-12 font on the main body
  5. Size 14-16 font for section headers
  6. Little to no added pops of color
  7. Clear space or borders between resume sections

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