A strong resume is now more crucial than ever, and creating a tailored and customized resume in Microsoft Word can help increase your chances of landing an interview. Quality Microsoft Word resumes take time, but they don’t have to if you have the right tools.
In this article, we'll show you how to create a resume that is professional, polished, easy to read, and free of errors in MS Word. We'll also show you where to access easy-to-use templates to create a resume that sings your experience and skills without spending your entire afternoon.
A resume provides a brief snapshot of your previous experience, education, and skills that employers can use to help them decide if they want to interview you. Resumes are critical to do well because it’s an employer’s first impression. A well-written resume can make the difference between landing an interview and being passed over for the job.
Beyond simply showcasing your qualifications, a good professional resume can demonstrate your ability to communicate effectively, think critically, and show employers that you have keen attention to detail and clear career goals. In addition, your resume can draw attention to relevant and unique experiences and qualifications beyond paid work backgrounds, helping a job-seeker stand out to a hiring manager.
Outside professional benefits, creating a resume can also serve as a rare opportunity for self-reflection or help with personal branding. They can help job seekers better understand their strengths, spotlight weaknesses, or better understand how to position themselves in the job market.
When creating your stand-out resume in Microsoft Word, it's important to follow a few key steps.
One of the easiest ways to get started is to use a pre-designed template. Microsoft Word offers various professional, creative, modern, and free resume templates that can help job seekers create a polished and visually appealing document. From classic designs that highlight experience and education to more creative templates that showcase niche skills, there is a template for just about every type of job seeker.
A Microsoft Word template can save you loads of time. They allow you to focus more on the content within your Word document rather than learning how to format a resume in Word. By using resume and cover letter templates, job seekers can save time and focus on tailoring resume content to the relevant skills in the job description while still presenting themselves professionally and impressively.
Headers are often overlooked, but they're likely more important than you think. Your header is the first thing hiring managers see before scanning your resume sections, and they can make a powerful first impression. Creating a professional, job-appropriate header in Microsoft Word is easy with a resume template.
First, be sure to include essential details like your name and contact information, like your email, phone number, and general location in which you're based— no need to include your street address, though some people may opt to include this as well.
Your resume summary, or professional bio, is a crucial component that helps hiring managers understand who you are beyond your professional achievements and can set you apart from other candidates.
In addition, your passions and interests offer insight into your personality, yet may not be relevant in subsequent resume sections. So your resume summary, not to be confused with the outdated resume objective, is your chance to tell your unique story and color your accomplishments.
This short, compelling bio is often the first point of reference for potential clients or employers, which is essential as online representation becomes more ubiquitous. A well-crafted resume summary complements your document by giving insight into who you are, where you've been, and where you're headed. A powerful summary statement can influence whether someone decides to connect, interview you, or move on.
The experience section of your resume is the meat of your professional story. This section is where you can showcase your current job title, relevant work history, responsibilities, and achievements to prospective employers. Your experience section should be in reverse chronological order, starting with your most recent job title, and provides an excellent opportunity for tailoring your Word resume to your target job position.
When making your experience section, start by identifying your most relevant positions and focusing on the impact you made under each job title. Then, use specific, quantifiable examples to demonstrate your contributions and value. Use action verbs to emphasize how you used your skills and expertise to solve problems, improve processes, and achieve results. For example, an SEO specialist might have increased conversions by 25% within three months, boosting revenue by 14%.
A winning resume provides a portal into more than just your work experience; you can also showcase your educational achievement. Your education section can be in the same format or within an additional column on the right or left side of your Word document. However, this section should be less prominent; you'll still want to format your professional summary to appear slightly bigger.
Even if your degree isn't directly related to the position you're applying for, highlighting your education demonstrates your commitment to growth and long-term goals. Be sure to list your degree(s), major(s), and any relevant coursework, along with the name and location of your school(s) and the dates of attendance. You can also include any academic honors or awards you may have received.
Within a new resume heading, include a hard and soft skills section to provide examples of your qualifications and abilities to employers. Hard skills refer to specific technical skills that you have acquired, such as proficiency in programming languages. In contrast, soft skills relate to your personal attributes and abilities, such as communication and problem-solving skills.
By including a section dedicated to your skills, you demonstrate to employers that you have the necessary expertise and interpersonal abilities to succeed in the role. Remember to tailor your skills section to the job description and highlight the ones most relevant to the position you are applying for. A strong skills section can set you apart from other candidates and improve your chances of getting hired.
Managers expect to see that you've taken the time to customize your application to their needs. By highlighting and tailoring your relevant skills and keywords and emphasizing achievements that align with the job description, it'll be clearer to employers that you're an excellent candidate for the position.
With Teal’s Job Tracker and Resume Builder, it is extremely easy for you to tailor your resume to each job you’re applying for – and it’s completely free to get started! After bookmarking and saving a job to your tracker, the top keywords are extracted so you can quickly customize your resume.
The font you choose can influence the overall look and feel of your document, making it more readable, professional, and visually appealing. Fonts can be tricky because the right one could depend on your industry, the specific job for which you're applying, or even your personal brand.
When formatting your new document in your resume template, choose a clear and easy-to-read font, such as Times New Roman, Arial, or Calibri, in a standard size of 10 or 12 points.
Use any bold or italic formatting sparingly, and stick to a consistent file format throughout your MS Word document. Avoid using decorative or overly stylized design elements, making your resume look unprofessional or difficult to read.
Here are some of the best fonts that make for an effective resume:
Understanding how to set resume margins, add a horizontal line, and the proper spacing can be one of the most commonly frustrating aspects of resume formatting. If your default margins in your Microsoft Word resume template don't fit when you create your resume, you can change them to make custom margins.
To adjust margins, go to the "Layout" tab, click "Margins," and select your desired custom margin size. A good rule of thumb is to keep the margins at one inch on all sides. This creates a balanced look and provides enough white space and line spacing so your content doesn't appear overwhelming.
Using headings, subheadings, and bullet points can help you create a resume that's organized. By breaking up content into manageable, bite-sized sections, resumes become simple to scan through, letting you better show off your skills, experience, and education. To create a resume to plug and play with these sections automatically built-in, access Teal’s premade ATS-compliant templates inside our Resume Builder.
Use the same format style throughout your resume, ensuring that your headings and subheadings are consistent in font or style. By incorporating these elements, you can make your resume stand out and help the reader quickly identify your strengths and qualifications.
Using text boxes in your resume helps to visually separate your work experiences and draw attention to important information. They can also help you customize the layout of your resume and make it stand out. Just be sure to use them sparingly and consistently throughout your document to maintain a clean and professional look.
While it may be tempting to send your resume as a Word document, saving it in a PDF file is a smarter choice. PDFs save space and are more likely to retain formatting and layout consistency across various devices and operating systems. This ensures that your resume looks professional and easy to read, regardless of the software used to view it.
Most importantly, title your PDF as your name. You can add the year or whatever other differentiators you like, but titling it with your own information and name allows employers to easily look up your resume and professional history in their applicant tracking systems.
Similarly to Microsoft Word, you can also use Google Docs resume templates to create a resume.
While Microsoft Word is a popular and accessible software, there is a cost associated with using it. You either have to purchase a license or subscribe to Microsoft Office to access the program. This can be a significant expense for some, especially if you only need to make a resume and don't need access to the full suite of Microsoft Office programs.
While you can share a Word document with others, collaboration features are limited. It can be challenging to track changes, and there may be version control issues. Additionally, working with others on a Word document can lead to formatting inconsistencies and make it difficult to maintain a polished final product.
While there are a few basic templates to choose from, Microsoft Word's design elements can be restrictive in terms of customization. As a result, it can be challenging to make a resume visually appealing using Microsoft Word alone. This may be a problem if you're applying for a creative or design-related position where having an impressive resume can make a big difference.
Word documents can become quite large. This can make it difficult to email or upload your resume to online job applications. In addition, some employers have size limitations on the files they can receive, which means you may need to compress or reduce the quality of your resume to meet their requirements.
Not all employers or job application systems may be compatible with Word documents. Some prefer PDFs or other formats, which can be problematic if you've spent a lot of time formatting your resume in Word.
Teal’s Resume Builder with AI functionality is the ideal option to help make your resume and faster. Instead of creating a resume from scratch, you can speed up the process by uploading an existing resume or importing your LinkedIn profile without inputting your password.
The resume builder helps you create a professional summary; it will outline your achievements, can offer suggestions, and serves as your go-to tool for resume creation. Teal’s Resume Builder replaces the need to build a resume in Microsoft Word and is the easiest way to tailor resumes and cover letters, letting you easily customize and optimize each one for a specific job.
If you're looking for inspiration, we've curated a comprehensive list of sample resumes across a variety of jobs by seniority level, industry, specialty, and more in our new resume examples collection.
Creating a resume in Microsoft Word can be a straightforward process if you know what you're doing. By following these tips for creating and formatting your resume, you can make a good impression on employers and increase your chances of landing an interview.