I took advantage of two free offers to "review my resume" and help me get it in shape. Each expert company gave me conflicting answers on almost every point.
They both agreed that you should not use Word Templates--You should use their templates. I am certain there is no bias in that recommendation.
There are a few things I have found out. Allegedly in large corporations resumes are scan by computer that looks for certain power words. Those resumes get sent to a real person. Personally, I do not want anything to do with a company that would depend on a computer to make that decision.
Next, a company cannot ask your age or date of birth. They can ask when you graduated from high school and college. Since they are fairly smart people, they can probably come close to estimating your age.
One company told me to only list my last 15 years of experience. In the past 35 years I held two jobs, one for 16 and the other for 22. The first job was a natural lead in to the second job.
Finally, please realize that there are few if any listings unique to any of the job boards on the internet. You can find the same job listed in a lot of places. So be careful, you do not want to send your resume three times to the same company.
My advice is if you know someone somewhere who is in a position to hire people or at least see the applications and resumes, get their opinion. If you know someone who recently got a new job ask to see his resume.
When in doubt use the standby:
Name and Contact Info
Objective or Purpose
List of skills--can be in two columns
Your employment history. If you are 25 go back to your college jobs. If you are 60, like me, cover at least the last 20 years.
Companies today to not want to spend time or money training, so in listing your skills be complete and be sure to mention that you have excellent oral and written communication skills and have extensive multitasking experience.
Attach a listing of your references if they were requested. Attached them if they were requested. If they are on a separate sheet of paper, they can always throw them away.
Now I have been out of work for 14 months--so you may not like my format. However, remember I am 60 and could start drawing Social Security in two years, plus I cannot relocate. Therefore, you have to decide if the above approach will work for you.