How to Make a Resume in Word: A Step-By-Step Guide

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 19 June 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Resumes are an important part of the job application process because they allow you to demonstrate your qualifications and skills to potential employers. You can write a resume on a variety of word processors, including Microsoft Word. Learning how to use Word to format your resume can help you to create a concise and easy-to-read document. In this article, we explain how to make a resume in Word, discuss various resume types and what they include and provide some helpful tips.

What is a resume in Word?

A resume is a document that shows your relevant skills and qualifications. Hiring managers generally request that candidates provide a resume when applying for a job. You can create one in a word processor such as Microsoft Word. Here are three types of resumes that you can create:

Chronological

Chronological resumes organise your work history and experience in reverse chronological order, starting with your current or most recent position. Below your professional history, you can list your education, skills and relevant interests. This is the most common format, and you can use it when applying to any position within any industry.

People tend to choose a chronological format if they're applying to traditional companies, such as financial firms, educational institutions, businesses, government agencies and non-profit organisations. This template is ideal if you have a lengthy job history as it showcases your career progression. It's also a simple format that's easy to understand.

Related: 10 Resume Writing Tips to Impress Employers

Functional

Functional resumes emphasise your skills and achievements rather than your job history. This template suits individuals with minimal work experience or those who are changing careers and have little experience in the industry to which they're applying. It's also ideal for job seekers re-entering the workforce after significant time off. When you use this format, hiring managers can assess your skills at the top of the page and base their decision to keep reading on whether those skills align with the position they're hiring for.

Related: Resume Format Guide (With Examples)

Combination

Combination resumes allow for more customisation as you can combine your work history with relevant details about your skills and interests. This format gives you the opportunity to emphasise your achievements, strengths and work history in whichever order you prefer. Generally, you start with a description of your qualifications and skills and follow with your work history in reverse chronological order. You may select a combination template if you're applying for a technical job, such as a computer programming position, that requires a particular set of skills.

How to make a resume in Word

To learn how to make a resume in Word, consider the following steps:

1. Find a template

Microsoft offers resume templates for free in the Microsoft Word program. You can find them in the Resume Wizard by clicking ‘File', ‘New' and ‘Other'. Additionally, you can download many free resume templates from the Microsoft Office website. Try searching the website to find a template that fits your needs.

Related: Guide to Using a Modern Resume Template (With Tips and Examples)

2. Modify your template

After selecting a template, you can modify some of the details to better suit the job you're applying for or your personal preferences. Click on specific areas of the template to change individual sections, or use the ‘Select All' option on the Home tab to adjust the entire document. Some elements you can customise include the colour, font, font size and location of each section.

3. Include your contact information

Most Word templates include a header. In this header, you can write your contact information, including your name, phone number, email address and a link to your professional website or digital portfolio if you have one. This allows the hiring manager to contact you if they want to ask for additional information or schedule an interview.

4. Create an objective or summary statement

After completing your header, you can start to write the main body of your resume. Near the top, write a professional objective or summary statement. These statements allow you to briefly describe your work history, career goals, skills or qualifications. Objectives are best for people with limited job experience, while summaries may benefit people who have worked multiple positions in their chosen industry.

5. Describe your work history

Your past experiences may give an employer insight into the duties you can perform or the value you can offer to the organisation. While the format of your work history may change depending on your template and the type of resume you're creating, most resumes include a description of your past positions. Include your job title, the company you worked for and some of the key duties you performed in the role.

6. Mention your education

Including your education in your resume can show that you have formal qualifications for a particular position. When writing down your education, list your highest degree first and the rest in reverse chronological order. Include the name of the college or university you attended, the name of your degree and your graduation date.

7. List your skills

Skills are any characteristics or abilities that can help you perform the duties in your desired position. You can mention your skills anywhere in your resume, but it's common to place them in their own section. Try to list a combination of soft and hard skills to demonstrate a wide variety of abilities.

8. Include additional information

If you have room at the bottom of your resume, consider including additional information that demonstrates how well you can perform the role you're applying for. This might include certifications, awards or school achievements. You may also include personal information, such as hobbies or interests.

9. Save it as a PDF

After finishing your resume, convert the document to a PDF. This safeguards it against any formatting issues and ensures the design and fonts display as you intended. Different computers and versions of Word can have different font packages, so saving your resume as a PDF ensures consistency.

10. Hyperlink your email

Once you've created the PDF, hyperlink your email address for easy communication. You can do this by opening the PDF, then clicking ‘File', ‘Content Editing', ‘Add' and ‘Edit Link'. Highlight the text you want to hyperlink, then enter your email address.

Resume tips

Here are some tips you can use for creating a resume using Word:

Keep it concise

Busy hiring managers often skim resumes to make sure candidates are qualified for a role before giving them an in-depth review. Be sure to remove any irrelevant or out-of-date information and incorporate keywords from the job description that apply to your background. It's important to communicate your competence concisely and clearly.

Give the file a specific name

Give your resume a unique file name before submitting your application. A specific name may help an employer easily find your resume and can prevent it from getting lost or forgotten. Consider using your full name and the word resume or a similar format.

Consider the position

When choosing a template for your resume in Word, think about the position that you're trying to get. Different industries may have different standards for their resume templates. For example, an employer for a creative role may encourage a colourful or uniquely formatted template, while a hiring manager for an accounting role may prefer a traditional or elegant style.

Proofread

It's important that your resume is free of spelling or grammatical errors. An error-free resume demonstrates your attention to detail. Make sure you proofread all text before you share it with a potential employer. It's also helpful to have a friend or colleague review it to help you find any mistakes.

Please note that none of the companies, institutions or organisations mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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