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how to create a professional resume using microsoft word

Format a resume with a template

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Here’s how to download and use a template to create a sharp resume. We’ll show how you can cut and paste parts of your old resume and make the fonts and spacing look perfect.

Whether you’re online or offline go to FILE > New and search for “Resume.”

Preview and click the one you want to open.

You can start typing right away or cut and paste text into the document.

After pasting old text, it might look funny, or not formatted correctly. Select Ctrl to see Paste Options and choose one like Keep Text Only . Then the text use the font and formatting of the new resume.

Six steps to developing a great resume

Look up words in the thesaurus

Most people submit resumes online these days, but there are still reasons why you need a paper resume.

A big one is at the interview. You want to come in with copies of your resume so you can hand it to the person.

So they don’t have to scramble to find the copy of theirs or look for on their computer.

So I’m going to show you a couple of different ways of formatting a resume.

First of all it’s going to be with a template.

I’m going to open up Word 2013 here, and it opens to this new gallery view that shows off templates.

If you have an earlier version of Word, you just want to go to FILE and New and you’ll be able to search for resume or search for templates.

I’m going to type in “Resume”.

If I was offline I get about a dozen or so resumes, here online I can get the full power of Office.com .

I can get a couple hundred I can look for.

Some with categories, occupations… Let me just click on this thumbnail, I can see a little bigger thumbnail, and I can click through these arrows to find one I like.

You can also see customer ratings which is Ahh..You know that way you can see what’s populate what people like.

I’m going to use this one here called the Timeless design . Open that up. And it populates with my name.

Today I’m Daryl McFarland. And it gives you some instructions of how to use the template if you need that or you can just start typing away with your new objective here for your resume.

Now with resumes, most of the time people have older resume, they may cut and paste in, they want to format it so let’s look at that for a few moments here. I’m going to open up some text that I have here.

And just cut and paste this objective.

And you want to ahh.. make sure you know each resume has to have a different objective for each company.

Don’t want to be general. You want to be specific with your resume.

So, here I have the text that I want but, of course, it looks a little different. The font size is wrong.

There is a couple of different ways to change the formatting. You can look at styles. Some people use Format Painter .

But when you cut and paste, if you don’t touch any other keys, you get this little box here at the end, with a little clipboard that says Ctrl by it.

Ctrl is the shortcut. So let me click Ctrl . And it opens up Paste options. And it gives me several options I can use.

I can use this one called Keep Text Only . And look, it shrinks down my text. Perfect. So that’s good. Let’s do it one more time.

We’re going to grab some of these old skills I have and I’ll update them as I work this new resume. Again, little too big.

Now notice this last line I have some bold text in it.

I want to keep that bold text but if I chose the option -- Keep text only , it strips out all formatting.

So hyperlinks and everything is striped out so I don’t want to use that.

I want to go over here and Merge Formatting , and there, it keeps the bold and also makes the text look proper for this template.

Templates in general especially in resumes, templates have what we call control content.

If you look up here we have boxes for street address, telephone, email.

That just gives you some structure to the template, you can delete those if you want.

Also down here in the experience area we have this.

If you don’t want it, again you can just simply right-click and remove content control and it’ll strip that away.

A lot of times people just want to update a resume with a different look.

You can do that really quickly with the DESIGN tab. Let’s go over there.

So click DESIGN and I get all this formatting options here at the top and I can just mouse over and my resume changes, it previews.

Now some of these look good. Some of them really don’t look good.

But it’s a quick way to kind of get a different look for your resumes.

Because sometimes we just want a fresh start with a new resume. You can also do that with Themes over here on the far left.

Themes are a great way to control color, font size, spacing.

I use it a lot for PowerPoint and not as much in Word, but you can set a difference to your resume and just click the one that you want. So that’s working with templates.

In our next video, we’re going to use formatting, well, we’re going to format without a template.


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Home Resume Help How to Make a Resume on Word

How to Make a Resume on Word

Dominique Vatin

Confused about creating a Word resume? Follow our tips on how to make a resume on Word tailored to your professional background.

An example showing someone making a resume on Word

How to make a resume on a Word document

Most resume templates you’ll find online are already formatted for Microsoft Word. But if you’re looking for how to make a good resume on Microsoft Word that’s simple yet professional, we’ve got you covered.

MS Office makes it easy to create a professional, well-formatted resume for any industry and offers a number of attractive resume templates for you to customize that meet your needs.

We’ll show you how to create a resume on Word in seven easy steps.

1. Pick a template for your Word document resume

Creating a resume in Word starts with choosing the right template. Open Word and search for “resume” by selecting the search icon in the top right-hand corner.

This will bring up a range of options. Choose “templates”, which will display your choice of resume templates, and then select the one that you like best:

For our example, we chose Microsoft Word’s “Bold” resume template.

2. Write your name and contact information at the top

Now that you have the template open, start by editing your resume header at the top of the page:

At the very least, you should include your:

Here’s what a properly formatted header looks like in Word:

example of a name header in a Microsoft Word resume template

Optionally, you can also include your current job title in your resume header to immediately advertise your professional background.

3. Write a convincing resume introduction

Next, add a new section on your Microsoft Word document resume directly underneath your header for your resume introduction .

The best introduction for most job seekers is a resume summary . That’s because resume summaries can be modified for a wide variety of industries and experience levels.

A good resume summary lists your main work-related achievements and skills in one to five sentences, functioning as a sales pitch showing that you’re the most qualified person for the job.

Here’s an example of what a well-written summary looks like on a Microsoft Word resume:

image of a filled out resume summary in Microsoft Word

4. Summarize your work experience

Your work experience section is the core of your resume, as it proves that you have the qualifications and skills to do the job. It’ll also take up the bulk of your resume.

To start, click on the section of your Microsoft Word document labeled “Experience”.

Then, list your work experience in reverse chronological order, meaning that your most recent job title is placed at the top of the experience section. Remember to only include experience that is relevant to the job that you’re applying for.

For each job you list, provide the following basic information:

You should also write three to five resume bullet points describing your duties and achievements under each job title. Remember to use strong action verbs to show off your skills and to highlight your resume accomplishments by quantifying them using numbers and percentages.

Here’s an example that you can follow to write your own work experience section:

an image of a resume experience section on microsoft word

In this example, the candidate’s job title, company name, location, and dates of employment are displayed clearly. The use of bullet points, action verbs, and hard numbers to quantify their accomplishments gives hiring managers a good idea of what they can bring to the table.

5. Add your education history

Next, fill out the resume education section on your Microsoft Word template.

If you already have a few years of work experience, you should keep your education history brief. All you need to do is include the following details for each school you’ve attended:

However, if you’re writing a resume with no work experience , or you’re a recent college graduate , consider adding more detail to your education section.

For example, including extracurricular activities or relevant coursework in your resume’s education section helps give employers a better idea of your skills and qualifications.

Here’s an example of a well-written resume education section:

an image of a completed resume education section in Microsoft Word

6. List your relevant job skills on your resume in Word

Add a skills section on your MS Word resume to show that you have the expertise needed to do the job you’re applying for.

Make sure that you highlight any skills mentioned in the job listing and include a range of hard and soft skills to show employers you have a variety of strengths to offer.

Here’s an example of what your skills section should look like once you’ve filled out your Microsoft Word resume:

an image of a completed resume skills section in Microsoft Word

You can also choose to simplify this section further by listing your skills without using full sentences. This can help save space, especially if you’re using a two-column format.

Additionally, make sure to list the same skills as the ones in the job listing. This is an essential step to pass Applicant Tracking Software (ATS), which filters out job applications that don’t meet employers’ requirements.

Including key skills for your resume from the job description ensures you have an ATS-friendly resume  that doesn’t get automatically rejected before landing on the hiring manager’s desk.

7. Include career accomplishments and awards at the bottom

Finally, consider adding an additional section to your Microsoft Word resume for things like awards , accomplishments , or volunteer work .

This will usually go at the bottom of your resume, like so:

an image of a resume awards and acknowledgements section in Microsoft Word

Tips for a professional resume format in Word

You’ll probably need to make some adjustments to get your resume in Microsoft Word just right. Here’s how to make a few key resume formatting tweaks:

Adjust your margins

Keep your resume information visually balanced throughout the page by paying special attention to your resume format in Word. If you’re having trouble keeping your resume length to one page, try adjusting your resume margins .

You can do this in Microsoft Word by selecting “Layout” and then clicking on “Margins”:

an image of custom margins selection in Microsoft Word

Change your line spacing

If you need to fit more information into a section, consider adjusting your line spacing, which is the amount of space in between each line of text.

The easiest way to do this is to click the “Line and Paragraph Spacing” icon and choose “Line Spacing Options”:

an image of line spacing options in a Microsoft Word document

Add horizontal lines

Horizontal lines help break up information on your resume and make it easier for employers to read it, and there are a few different ways of adding them to your Word document resume:

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Dominique Vatin

Written by Dominique Vatin

Dominique is a Content Writer at Resume Genius, where she enjoys crafting content to better equip job seekers. She graduated from Yonsei GSIS in Korea with a Master's... more

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How to Make a Resume in Word in 2023: Formatting Guide

How to Make a Resume in Word in 2023: Formatting Guide

Creating a resume in MS Word doesn’t need to be a nightmare. Make a resume in Word that every hiring manager will remember with ease.

Oliwia Wolkowicz

As seen in:

It can’t be that hard to write your resume in Word, can it? Then why are you stuck? Overwhelmed with hundreds, no, thousands of pages and videos on how to make a resume in MS Word? Who has the time to sift through that mountain of informational junk to find the hidden gems?!

Worry not. We’ve left no stone unturned, and condensed down all you need to know about how to make a resume in Word.

In this guide you’ll learn:

But instead of reading through all this, you can just swing on over to our resume builder which will do it for you. Not only is it more user friendly than MS Word, you can download your finished resume in a .doc file which will make writing your resume a sinch.

Let’s get started!

Want to save time and have your resume ready in 5 minutes? Try our resume builder. It’s fast and easy to use. Plus, you’ll get ready-made content to add with one click. See 20+ resume templates and create your resume here .

Create your resume now

sample resume example

Sample resume made with our builder— See more resume examples here .

First, you might want to check if submitting a resume in *.doc is a good idea: Is a Resume in PDF the Best Option?

Check out our resume templates to choose the best for you:

How to Make a Resume in Word

Now get comfortable, we’re going to go through, step by step, how to make a resume in Word from scratch.  

Access MS Word Templates

Accessing MS Word templates may seem complicated, but it really is just a few simple steps that we’ll show you them below.

resume in word

resume in word

Not sure which resume template packs the most punch? Browse through our selection and tips here:  25 Resume Templates for Microsoft Word

Make a Resume Header in Word

Going top-down, we start first with the resume header (and the Captain Obvious award goes to…). 

The resume header should include the following:

It should end up looking like this:

resume in word

But hey, how did that nice line get there? 

It’s simple so let’s leave that for later, once you’ve finished all your sections. If you’re super impatient, jump down here to learn how to add a line in a Word resume.

How to Format a Resume Header in Word

As your name is both important and the first thing the hiring manager sees, make sure it’s bigger than the rest of your text (14-16 pt).

Depending on the font you use, decide whether bold will make it look better and draw more attention. 

Feel free to bold the titles of the information that you’re listing (like in the above example) to make it a little clearer to read.

Add a Resume Objective/Summary

Double space from the last line in your resume header.

Write “Objective” or “Summary” depending on which one you’re using. As it’s a section title, make it a little larger than the rest of the text (14-16 pt). Also, depending on the font you’re using, make it bold.

Beneath the section title , write a couple of sentences concerning your resume summary or objective. 

Unsure whether a resume objective or summary is right for you? These two handy guides will help solve that problem: Resume Summary Examples and Resume Objective Examples

Your resume objective/summary section should look like this:

resume in word

Write Your Experience Section in Word

Now we’re diving into the bigger sections of your resume that will take a bit more time and effort to get just right. 

Again, double space from the last line and add the section title “Experience” in larger text like the previous section titles.

Next, add the date, title of your job position at the time and then the name of the company.

Next, add a few lines describing your relevant job responsibilities in bullet points.

If you have key achievements that you’d like to include, add “key achievements” after your job responsibilities and also list them in bullet points. Since “Key Achievements” is a sub section header, remember to make it bold, underlined, or slightly larger than the surrounding text to help it stand out more.

Need more pointers on how to add work experience to your resume? This guide will point you in the right direction: Resume Work Experience, History, & Example Job Descriptions

Your finished work experience section should look something like this:

resume in word

Add Your Education Section

The hardest part of your resume is over and done with, phew! Now on to your education.

Follow the same rules as before so double space and enlarge the font for the resume section title “Education.”

Next, add the date you graduated (or plan to graduate), the name and location of the school, and the title you acquired.

If you’re feeling a little lost on how to add your education to your resume, you’ll definitely find these guides super helpful: How to Put Education on a Resume and How to List Continuing Education on a Resume

Your education section should look like this:

resume in word

Add Skills to a Resume in Word

You’re already at your skills section now!

This section is an easy one as you won’t have to do much other than list.

Again, double space from the last line and use the same format for your “Skills” section header as you did for the rest.

Now simply list your skills. You can do this as a simple list or just some kind of formatting like bullet points. That’s all there is to it!

When you’re done, your resume skills section should look something similar to this:

resume in word

It’s important to remember that you can’t just mention every skill you have including competitive bubblegum chewing. It needs to be relevant. 

This guide will tell you exactly which professional skills are key to getting your dream job: Key Skills to Put on a Resume

Add Additional Sections to Your Resume

You’re already near the end, yay!

The additional section isn’t mandatory in your resume, but it is a great place to show off your achievements, certificates , interests , languages , and other things that don’t really fit elsewhere in your resume.

Add the relevant section headings, i.e. “Achievements”, “Certificates”, “Languages”, “Interests”, etc. and then form a simple list beneath.

Here’s an example:

resume in word

That’s it!

Afraid that your resume doesn’t have enough impact? Check to see if it’s optimized to the job description with this handy guide: 6 Tips on How to Tailor Your Resume to a Job Description

When you’re all done, if you pull all the pieces together, your complete resume should look more or less like this:

resume in word

Unsure if your resume is complete? Double check that you have all the crucial pieces: Parts of a Resume: What are the Important Elements?

Now, that looks okay , but it’s not exactly something to write home about. Want a resume in Word that will really stand head and shoulders above the rest?

When making a resume in our builder, drag & drop bullet points, skills, and auto-fill the boring stuff. Spell check? Check . Start building a  professional resume template here for free .

Create the perfect resume

When you’re done, Zety’s resume builder will score your resume and tell you exactly how to make it better.

How to Format a Resume in Word

You’ve already learned a little about formatting a resume in Word throughout this guide, but let’s recap and add in some new tips for good measure.

Resume Fonts in Word

It may seem like something not really worth the worry, but a bad font can tank your resume faster than an unnoticed iceberg.

Use professional, modern fonts and stay away from fonts that are overly creative, hard to read, or simply comical (I’m looking at you, Comic Sans!).

For more in depth knowledge about what fonts are a “go” and which are a “no,” check out this great guide: Best Fonts for a Resume

Resume Margins in Word

Word usually has neat margins set up by default so you’re probably good to go from the start.

Just in case, though, remember that the standard margins for resumes are 1 in. on all sides.

Want to muse more over measuring your margins? This guide will do just that: Proper Resume Margins

Resume Line Spacing in Word

Again, Word will usually have you covered by default, but it’s good to know that 1.15 line spacing is best in a resume. 

If you want to see what your line spacing is set to in a Word document, go the toolbox in the Home tab and select the icon that looks like a paragraph with arrows on the left side. A drop down menu will appear with different spacing options.

Resume Headings in Word

As we’ve already covered, the resume headings should stand out in some way. They definitely should be slightly bigger (14-16 pt) to set them apart from the rest of the 12 pt text. 

If the legibility of the font allows, feel free to underline or bold the resume section headings as well.

Don’t go overboard though. This does not look good on a resume: WORK EXPERIENCE

How to Make a Line in Word for Your Resume

Making a line is one of those things that seems simple, but ends up giving you an aneurysm and a half when you try to do it.

There are actually three ways to create a line in Word—via hyphens, borders, or horizontal lines. 

Type in three hyphens (---) and then press “Enter.” Viola! You have a line!

Go to the Borders option in the Home toolbox and click on the drop down menu. Choose the first option “Bottom Border” and Word will automatically insert a line.

Go to the borders in the Home toolbox and click on the drop down menu. Choose “Horizontal Line”. Click and Word will insert a line.

Now you know more than one way to make a line in Microsoft Word!

Lines, like other format options, should be used once in a while to emphasize the main points. You don’t want to turn your resume into a web of lines created by drunken spiders.

Plus, a great cover letter that matches your resume will give you an advantage over other candidates. You can write it in our cover letter builder here.  Here's what it may look like:

matching set of resume and cover letter

See more cover letter templates and start writing.

Key Takeaway

If you’ve ever wondered how to create a resume template in Word, well you just have! Now you can create several different tailored resumes for your dream jobs!

Wasn’t all that bad, was it?

Creating a resume in Microsoft Word may not be super easy, but it doesn’t need to be a complicated design or be a nightmare to format. You can definitely create a resume in one, relaxed sitting.

Just keep in mind to:

Have you found this guide helpful? Any options or templates we’ve left out that you think could be useful? Let us know!

Oliwia Wolkowicz

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Easy Resume Logo

How to Create a Resume in Microsoft Word (Step-by-Step Guide)

If this is your first time creating a resume in Microsoft Word, the process may seem overwhelming. Luckily, this article is here to help! In this step-by-step guide, we will cover how to create an effective resume from start to finish using Microsoft Word.

How Do I Make a Resume in Microsoft Word?

There are two primary methods for making a resume in Microsoft Word:

To use a template, go to File > New and then select a template from the Resume and Cover Letter section.

how to create a professional resume using microsoft word

How Should I Format My Resume in Microsoft Word?

The format you choose will depend on your experience level!

There are 3 basic resume formats to choose between:

Choosing the best format for your needs is key. For more help on this subject, check out our guide on How to Choose the Correct Resume Format in 2021 !

Beautiful resume templates to land your dream job

Sales Manager

Make a Resume in Microsoft Word in 7 Easy Steps

First, let’s make sure you can navigate the Microsoft Word ribbon!

The ribbon is the toolbar found at the top of the screen.

It should look something like this:

how to create a professional resume using microsoft word

The main parts of the ribbon you should familiarize yourself with on the Home tab are Font , Paragraph , and Styles .

These are how you will edit the appearance of your text and headers.

You should also familiarize yourself with the Layout tab .

This tab is where you will adjust your margins and add columns!

Once you have taken your time to figure out where all of your tools are, it’s time to begin building your resume!

Important Note: These steps detail how to create a resume in Microsoft Word from scratch. By using one of the program’s pre-made templates, you can bypass many of these steps and simply fill in the pre-made format.

Step 1: Create Your Layout

Let’s begin by visiting the Layout tab .

Here, you can set your margin size and decide if you want to use columns.

Here is a breakdown of these two elements:

‍ We recommend using 1-inch margins on all sides.

This will give you enough white space to keep your resume looking neat without sacrificing too much space.

It will also ensure your formatting looks good on printed versions of your resume. ‍

Columns and Sidebars:

‍ From the columns tab, you will find five options:

how to create a professional resume using microsoft word

From the Home tab , you can edit the following elements of your layout:

‍ Alignment:

‍ Choose between left, center, or right alignment.

We recommend using the left alignment.

Whichever you choose, it is a good idea to keep your alignment consistent across the board. ‍

Line Spacing:

‍ We recommend using 1.15 – 1.5 line spacing for the body text.

For section titles and headers, use 1.5 – 2.0 spacing to help them stand out from the rest of the text. ‍

‍ Use a simple and highly legible font. Try to use only 1-2 fonts throughout your resume.

We recommend the following seven fonts:

Step 2: Make Your Title Header

Your title header should contain the following information:

Use an H1 header to write your name at the very top.

Use the Normal style to write the rest of your information (see “How Do I Add Different Sections of the Resume on Microsoft Word” below for more information on header styles).

It should come out looking similar to this:

Copywriter Email: [email protected] Phone: (123) 456-7890 Website: Janesmith.com LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/janesmith

Check out some of our free resume examples to see alternative ways of formatting your title header!

Step 3: Write an Objective or Summary

Following your title header will be your resume objective or summary.

This will be a short statement between 1-5 sentences detailing your desired job title, experience, and career goals.

You will want to write this statement in the Normal style .

However, you may want to use a slightly larger font than the rest of the text in other sections.

This will help your objective or summary statement to stand out.

Here is an example of how this might look with the title header example from before:

Resume Objective: I am a copywriter with over 5 years of experience. working with corporate clients. I am seeking the position of Head Copywriter at your company, bringing with me over 10 major corporate clients.

Wedding Photographer

Step 4: Create Your Base Format

By creating a base format, you can save the document as a separate file to return to and fill in again and again.

This will help you to tailor your resume to fit specific jobs!

The idea of the base format is to provide outlined sections with the correct spacing and number of bullet points.

You are essentially creating a skeleton for your resume that you can edit and adjust over time.

By doing so, you ensure you have already allocated the proper amount of space on the resume for each section.

For example, this is what your base Work Experience section may look like:

Work Experience

Job Title 1 , Company Name Date – Date · Descriptive Sentence · Descriptive Sentence · Descriptive Sentence Job Title 2 , Company Name Date – Date · Descriptive Sentence · Descriptive Sentence · Descriptive Sentence ‍ Job Title 3 , Company Name Date – Date · Descriptive Sentence · Descriptive Sentence · Descriptive Sentence

As you gain more work experience, you can return to this base format and make changes as need be.

Because you have already outlined the section, you won’t have to worry about reformatting the entire resume to make a few simple changes.

Step 5: Determine Your Section Organization

Once you have built the base format of your resume, it’s time to determine if your sections are in the optimal location.

For instance, if you are creating a Reverse-Chronological style resume you will want your Work Experience section to come first.

Comparatively, if you are creating a Functional style resume you may want your Skills or Education section to come first.

The order and organization of your sections will impact the impression your resume makes on hiring managers.

Step 6: Fill in the Information

Now that you have created the base format of your resume and chosen the optimal organization, it’s time to fill in your information!

When filling in your information, be mindful of the following 3 factors:

Not sure how to make your language more compelling on your resume? Take a look at our list of 350+ Action Verbs to Make Your Resume More Effective in 2021 .

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Step 7: Double-Check Your Sections

Once you have completed steps 1-6, look back over your resume and make sure you have included all of the key sections.

You should also take some time to consider what additional sections you could include.

Here are the key sections every resume should have:

As we have covered, the order of these sections will vary depending on the format you have chosen.

However, each of these sections should always be included in your resume.

There are also some additional sections to consider adding.

Here is a quick list of extra sections that can add some extra flair to your resume:

How Do I Add Different Sections to a Resume on Microsoft Word?

The way to create different sections on your resume comes in two parts:

Here is a breakdown of how to use the H1, H2, H3, and Normal styles within your resume:

Select the Styles window from the Home tab .

From here, you will have options to create headers.

Your heading options are as follows:

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What are the Pros and Cons of Using Microsoft Word to Craft Your Resume?

Microsoft Word is a handy tool to have, especially if your computer comes with the program pre-installed.

Here are 3 pros and 3 cons to using Microsoft Word to create your resume:

Why Should I Use an Online Resume Template or Resume Builder?

By using a resume template from an online provider, such as Easy Resume, you are more likely to find a template that fits your exact needs.

Plus, online resume templates and resume builders often have more design elements that are easier to use compared to Microsoft Word.

Are you interested in using our online templates or resume builder? Check out our beautifully designed resume templates to build your optimal resume!

Final Takeaways

Microsoft Word offers a lot of capabilities to help you build your ideal resume.

Here are five key takeaways for creating a resume on the program:

At Easy Resume, we have designed our resume templates and online resume builder to fit your needs. No matter your level of experience or skill at making resumes, we have the tools to help.

Don’t forget to check out our expansive collection of FREE resume guides and examples while you’re here!

Browse more resume templates that fit your role

Ed Moss is an author for Easy Resume

Ed is a co-founder of Easy Resume. His background in scaling teams at tech startups over the last decade has given him extensive experience and knowledge around how to hire top talent and build successful teams. He enjoys mentoring, coaching, and helping others reach their career goals. When he's not writing about career-related advice, he's playing with his dog, Lilo, or going on long hikes in upstate New York.

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How to Create a Resume in Microsoft Word

Last Updated: February 13, 2023 References Approved

This article was co-authored by Alyson Garrido, PCC . Alyson Garrido is an International Coach Federation accredited Professional Certified Coach (PCC), Facilitator, and Speaker. Using a strengths-based approach, she supports her clients with job search and career advancement. Alyson provides coaching for career direction, interview preparation, salary negotiation, and performance reviews as well as customized communication and leadership strategies. She is a Founding Partner of the Systemic Coach Academy of New Zealand. There are 7 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. In this case, 82% of readers who voted found the article helpful, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 1,605,060 times.

Resumes detail a person’s work experience, education, skills and achievements. A good resume that is clear, concise and easy to read is essential when looking for a job. Resumes should be word processed and should be neat and tidy. Microsoft Word offers you the option of creating your resume through templates, but you can also create your resume from scratch using Word's formatting features.

Sample Resumes

how to create a professional resume using microsoft word

Creating a Resume from a Template (Word 2003, 2007, 2010, 2013)

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Creating a Resume Without a Template

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Writing Your Resume

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how to create a professional resume using microsoft word

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1. Open Word and click File . 2. Click New . 3. Click a resume template. 4. Type your own data into each field. 5. Save your resume as a new file. Did this summary help you? Yes No

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Free Resume Templates for Microsoft Word

Alison Doyle is one of the nation’s foremost career experts.

how to create a professional resume using microsoft word

Why Use a Resume Template?

Free microsoft word resume templates, how to access microsoft resume templates, tips for using a resume template, more microsoft resume templates, frequently asked questions (faqs).

Pichsakul Promrungsee / iStock / Getty Images Plus

Do you need to write or update your resume? A resume template can help you create a document that will impress every employer, whether you're writing your first resume or revising your current one . Microsoft Word has resume templates available for users. All you have to do is find one you like, click on it, and start writing.

Here's information on how to use a resume template, how to find the best templates to use, and tips for using a template to write your own resume.

Key Takeaways

A template can serve as a useful guide when creating or revising your resume. A template provides the basic structure for a resume. All you have to do is simply edit the document to include your personal information.

By using a template, you get a sense of what information to include in your resume and how to arrange it. You also get a sense of what information you do not need to include.

Using a template can reduce the amount of time you have to spend formatting your document, which allows you to focus on adding content and polishing up your resume so it's perfect.

Download a free resume template (compatible with Google Docs and Word Online) to use to write your resume. 

The Balance

There are two ways to access Microsoft resume templates: on your computer or online through Microsoft’s templates page. 

To access these resume templates from your computer:

To access Microsoft resume templates online:

Once you have downloaded or opened a resume template file, type over the text in the document to create your own, personalized resume:

Keep It Simple

When picking out a template to use, choose a simple template that's easy to edit and format. Fancy formatting and fonts may get lost when you upload or email your resume document. A basic resume is also easier for the hiring manager to read.

Be Concise 

Your resume doesn't need to include everything you ever did. If you have a lengthy employment history, you don't need to include it all. Employers typically don't expect to see more than 10-15 years of work experience on a resume.

Try to keep the resume no longer than one page , if possible, especially if you are applying for an entry-level job. However, more experienced candidates might make a longer resume.

Make the Document Unique to You and the Job

Be sure to change all of the information in the template so that the finished document is specific to you and your skills. It should include:

Add a Profile and Headline

You may also want to include a profile and a headline, though these sections are options.

Also, make sure to tailor the document to the job you are applying for. For example, if you are applying to be a teacher, include any work or volunteer experiences that involve teaching others or leading a group of people. Include keywords from the job application in your document, as well. This is another way to connect your resume to a specific job.

Choose a File Format

The employer may request your resume in a specific file format. Typical options are Microsoft Word (.doc or .docx) or a PDF file.

Give It a Unique File Name

Save your resume with your name as the file name. This way, employers will know to whom it belongs. For example, save it as firstname.lastname.doc or lastnameresume.doc.

Check the Details

When you're typing or copying and pasting over the content of a template, be sure that you have replaced all the information in it with your contact information, experience, and education. Double-check to make sure that everything on the final version of the resume is about you.

Along with checking the details, take the time to carefully proofread your resume before you click upload or send. A polished resume will impress an employer.

More free Microsoft resume templates are available as a download for Microsoft Word users to use to create their resumes. Microsoft also has templates for cover letters, curriculum vitae, and more career-related correspondence.

Microsoft Word resume options include:

Are Microsoft Word resume templates free?

Microsoft offers some resume templates online for free. Other templates require a Microsoft 365 subscription. 

Is it OK to use a Microsoft Word template for a resume?

A resume template can be a useful tool. Use a template to guide your writing and to ensure that your formatting is consistent and professional. However, your finished resume should be entirely your own. Take care to customize your resume for each job application. 

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Step-by-Step Guide on Creating your Resume Using MS Word

Marsha Hebert

Microsoft Word is the best program to use when creating your resume. Here's how to do it so that your resume gets past the Applicant Tracking System (ATS) and impresses hiring managers.

Microsoft Word comes with some very attractive templates that are ready to use and allow you to fill in the blanks. The bad thing is the templates offered by Word are not usually ATS-friendly. It is best to create your resume from scratch. You can do so without being an expert at using Word or knowing all of the formatting options the program offers.

A simple online search about creating a resume from scratch returns millions of results. Choosing the right set of instructions can be daunting. So, instead of going down that rabbit hole, follow this step-by-step guide on creating a resume using MS Word. 

MS Word resume templates

It can seem like an easy answer to pick a template offered by Word. You open the program, click templates, and are presented with hundreds of options. However, considering that ATS can't properly parse information from resumes that have text boxes, columns, images, and charts, those templates are not going to serve you well . 

Submitting a non-ATS-friendly resume is the best way to have your resume rejected for a job. When your resume is rejected by the ATS software, the human beings at the company don't even know you exist. It is one of the top reasons job seekers are ghosted by companies. 

Format your overall document before you start typing

Believe it or not, an ATS will scan resumes for everything from keywords, experience, and education to margin width and font. There are some pre-typing formatting options you'll need to set to ensure that the ATS can read your document.

Set your margins so that they are no narrower than 0.5 inches all the way around. Alternatively, you can use 0.75 and one-inch margins if you prefer.

Choose the font you want to use . You can use more than one font in your resume to distinguish between headers and body text, but use no more than two separate fonts. 

On the “Paragraph” formatting ribbon, set your line spacing to “Multiple” at 1.06 and enter “6 pt” in the “Before” box to ensure that your lines are squished together. You want to create some white space in your resume.

Setting the right formatting options ahead of time can save you some headaches when you're finished typing the text. 

As you type out your resume information in your resume, use the “Font” and “Styles” formatting ribbons to customize things like font size, colors, headers, and section separators. Your resume should contain the following sections :

Other (e.g., Affiliations, Licenses, Certifications, Volunteerism)

Your contact section

Type your name on a line by itself. Typically, you want your name to be larger than the other text on the document. You can even put it in all caps or small caps to help it stand out. On the next line, type your city, state, zip code/postal code, phone, email, and any online portfolios you want hiring managers to know about. 

It is no longer customary to include your full address. There have been instances of discrimination against job seekers based on their home addresses. It is critical, though, that you include your zip or postal code. Hiring managers can query the ATS for resumes within a radius of a zip code. If your zip code is missing, your resume doesn't get included.

If you use the “Intense Quote” style, your name and contact information will be set apart from the rest of the document with a border along the top and bottom of the text. Highlight your name to increase the size of the font and make it bold. 

Title and summary section

As you write the title and summary of your resume, make sure that it is future-facing and targeted to the job to which you want to apply. Type the title on a line by itself and, like your name, put it in all caps, small caps, larger text, and bold text so that it stands out from the rest of the words on the page. It's also a good idea to center it on the line. You can also change the color.

Some rules to use when applying color to your resume:

Color draws attention to the important parts. 

Use bright colors (e.g., blue and green) for headers and contact information.

Use complementary colors (e.g., lighter shades of blue and green) for subheadings, position titles, and degrees.

Avoid using red on your resume as red is associated with stopping. You don't want to give someone a queue to stop reading your document. 

The summary paragraph should be three to five sentences in length with a focus on what you bring to the table in alignment with relevant keywords from the job description. Be specific, but be concise. Focus on how much experience you have, a few things that you're really good at, and include at least one achievement.

Your skills section

Your contact section, title, and professional summary won't have headers. The skills section is where you'll start including headers to separate content. Type the word “Skills” on a line by itself. Follow the same style for each of the other sections in your resume. 

Then, on the next line list out your professionally relevant and job-specific skills. Keep the list to no more than 12 skills and be sure to use a strong mix of hard and soft skills . 

Your professional experience section

This is where the bulk of your resume content should appear. In order to properly write your experience section, you should use the chronological resume format . This simply means that you start with your current or most recent job and work backward. There are some general rules of thumb to keep in mind when writing the experience section of your resume. 

How to lay out the information for each job: Start with the name of the company and the timeframe you were employed there. It's best to use the MM/YYYY format for your jobs. After that, list your position title followed by three to five achievement bullets. Make sure that each bullet starts with a verb so that you have an action-based resume. 

Stick to the last 10-15 years of experience: A great resume represents approximately 10 years of experience. It's okay to go back 15 years, but it's recommended that you avoid going further than that. You can certainly list older experiences under an “Early Career Experience” title, but the roles in that list won't contain bullets detailing your accomplishments. 

Use stacking to list multiple roles at the same company: When you have progressed through more than one position within a single company, you'll list the company name first with the total amount of time you were employed there. In the next line, you'll list the last role you had with the company and the time you held that position followed by your achievement bullets. After those bullets, list the previous role you held with the company with the time you were in that role but don't list the company name again. Here's what that looks like:

ABC Company | 03/2007-Present

Senior Leader (05/2015-Present)

Experience that relates to the job to which you're applying.

Example(s) of projects or situations where you used this skill.

1 to 2 accomplishments or measurable results showing your expertise with this skill. 

Associate Leader (03/2007-05/2015)

Your resume isn't meant to be a record of your professional life's events.

Talk about achievements that will intrigue a hiring manager to call you for an interview.

Anytime you can use numbers, it's best to do so.

Your education section

End your resume with an education section, which includes your education, professional development, and any credentials you may possess. List graduation dates only if you're still in school or graduated within the last year. You should also spell out acronyms (e.g., Master of Business Administration rather than MBA). You can put the acronyms in parentheses after the full spelling. This holds true for degrees and school names.

If you didn't graduate, you can still list your higher education on your resume. After you type out the degree you were pursuing and the name of the school, put verbiage that indicates the degree is unfinished. Here's an example:

Bachelor of Science in Business Management | ABC State School | Expected completion: MM/YYYY

When you didn't finish and know you're not going back, simply put the number of credit hours you completed in the place of the “Expected completion” text:

Bachelor of Science in Business Management | ABC State School | 98/120 Credit Hours Completed

Additional sections that may appear on your resume

Some jobs require you to be a member of a particular organization. You may have completed some career-related research or have articles published to which you want to call attention. Put a relevant header for any extra information that you want on your resume and type out the information. 

Formatting headers

Now that you have the content written, it's time to make it look pretty. It's easy to update the text of each header title by enlarging the font and using bold. You can do more, though. 

Whatever formatting you decide to finish with on the “Skills” header needs to be repeated on all headers to ensure a level of consistency within your resume. The only header that wouldn't need formatting is the line you created if you decided to list “Early Career Experience.” You can simply bold that and leave it as simple text. 

Now you have a beautifully formatted, from-scratch resume. In the end, all you needed to know how to do was bold text, change the font, and format shading and borders. 

If you have questions, TopResume has a team of expert resume writers standing by.  

Recommended reading:

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Do Hiring Managers Actually Read Cover Letters?

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