How to Make a Resume in Word - 7 Easy Steps

15 June
9 min read

At some point or another - meaning, before online resume builders made our lives easier - most of us have had to make a resume in Word. 

Now, making a resume in Word can be tiresome. Not being entirely optimized for the task, it can give you a hard time formatting and styling your resume to your needs - and this is just one of its disadvantages. 

That being said, the use of Word is unlikely to drop only because it’s impractical. This means that knowing how to make a resume in Word is still a good skill to have. And if you’re sitting and thinking: “well, this doesn’t make matters any easier” - we hear you. 

That’s exactly why this article is here - to teach you how to make a resume in Word, in just a few easy steps. 

Read on to learn:

  • Should You Make a Resume in Word?
  • How to Make a Resume in Word in 7 Easy Steps
  • How to Format your Resume - 3 Pro Formatting Tips

But before we dive into the nitty-gritty details of how to make a resume in Word, let’s go through the downsides of using it to build your resume, and what other easier alternatives you might have in more detail. 

Should You Make a Resume in Word? 

Microsoft Word might once have been a top resume-building option, but that time is long gone. Although it has ready-made templates, Word in itself was never meant to be a resume builder - this reflects on the end product, which often looks old-fashioned and dull. 

Not to mention that it offers very little space for creativity. Try to make a small change in the layout and see the format crumble in front of your eyes. 

On the other hand, if you simply use the Word template without customizing it, yours might just become another resume in the crowd that won’t even pass the Applicant Tracking System (ATS) - the software most companies use to filter through countless resumes they receive daily. 

Long story short, here are MS Word’s main cons as a resume builder:

Long story short, here are MS Word’s main cons as a resume builder: 

  • It can be clunky and outdated - chances are, any Word template you choose to use for your resume will look old-fashioned. Technology has changed what is expected of your resume, just as it has changed job-search over the last decade. 
  • It is not ATS-optimized - the software that most recruiters use not to waste time looking at the resumes? Well, most Word templates are not optimized for it. This means that you can be the fittest candidate for the job and not even get invited to an interview. 
  • It’s time-consuming - making changes to the layout of a Word resume template is a nightmare. 

Everyone knows what happens when you move an image in Word:

moving image word
Source: twistedsifter.com

It’s exactly for these reasons, as well as the added efficiency, originality, and time preservation, that online resume builders are the obvious choice for creating your resume. 

Novorésumé’s online resume builder is fast, easy to use, and perfect if you want to land that interview. You can start building your resume immediately just by clicking on the link, or you can pick one of our free resume templates, according to your needs.

Step #1: Pick a Word Resume Template 

The first step in making a resume in Word is accessing its free resume templates. How you access the templates may change depending on the Microsoft Word version you’re using, but what you ultimately need to do is the following: 

Open Word. 

Select one of the Resume templates Word suggests, or simply search for “resume” and you’ll find a bunch more.

Choose the resume template that best fits your qualifications and professional profile.

Click “Create.” 

You’re good to go: the template should appear as a Word document ready to be filled with your personal information and all other relevant sections. 

Step #2: Create a Resume Header 

From this point on, things should be pretty easy to pick up. 

Start filling up your resume from the top, which is where the resume header is located. Traditionally, the header should include the following information:

  • First and last name
  • Phone Number
  • Email
  • Location (Street Address, City, State)

You may notice the lack of optional information in this resume template, such as your professional job title, your LinkedIn URL, or social media links. 

If you feel like that info will significantly improve your resume, look for a Word template that includes them, or manually add them to the template you’ve already chosen. We’ll go over some formatting techniques to improve your resume template later on in the article. 

Step #3. Include a Resume Summary or Objective

Next, you need to describe your professional experience or professional goals (in case you lack the experience) through the resume summary or objective. 

Write a resume summary or resume objective - depending on which one best fits your resume - and try to express yourself in a way that will keep the recruiter’s attention for more than the traditional 7 seconds

Quick recap: a resume summary is a 2-3 sentence overview of your career and is used in 90% of the cases. A resume objective is more commonly used among those with little professional experience or those who are changing careers and describes your professional goals. 

Step #4: Create a Compelling Work Experience Section

This is where things get serious. 

The work experience section is the most important part of your resume for obvious reasons and usually plays a decisive part in the recruiters’ decisions. So just filling up the gaps in the experience section of the Word template won’t be enough. You should try to make this section as compelling as possible - following some of the tips provided below. 

But first, the basics. As with any standard format, the experience section should include the following components: 

  • Job title and position
  • Company name and location
  • Dates of employment 
  • Achievements and responsibilities 

Again, how the resume looks in Word will depend on the template that you have chosen. 

Obviously, the template lets you add as many professional entries as you wish - but that doesn’t mean you should go overboard. List your experience in reverse-chronological order, meaning: start from the latest and move back in time, based on the amount of professional experience you possess. 

There are, of course, a couple of pro tips that you should follow even as you use the Word templates to make your experience section more compelling. 

Pro Tip #1 - List achievements over responsibilities

Notice the example above.

Instead of responsibilities, we have opted to list achievements. Listing achievements over responsibilities whenever possible is one of the best ways to stand out in the eyes of recruiters. That’s because responsibilities are similar for one type of job, while achievements show exactly what you can contribute to the position

Pro Tip #2 - Tailor your resume to the job you are applying for.

Another good practice is tailoring your resume to the job you are applying for. This can help you go through the ATS and land your resume right on the recruiters’ tables. 

If you want to know exactly what information to include in your resume, how and when to list achievements over responsibilities, and how to tailor your resume to your job, head over to our complete guide on how to write a resume.

Step #5: Add Your Educational Background 

Things should get quite easy after you get your professional experience section out of the way.

The education section of your resume should include the following: 

  • University name and location 
  • Years attended
  • Program name / Degree obtained 

Optionally, you can include your GPA, Minor degrees, or any special award or academic achievement. Our advice is to include them only if you are a recent graduate or entry-level professional with not much else to include in your resume, or if your education history is truly outstanding. 

Step #6: Make Sure to Include Your Skills

At this point, you can consider most of the work done! 

Now that you have reached the skills section, things get even easier. Make a bullet or numbered list of your hard and soft skills and you’re good to go. 

Hard skills are usually measured through experience levels - you can place your experience level (usually categorized into Beginner/Intermediate/Advanced or Expert) into brackets, so you don’t take up too much space within the resume. 

Pro Tip #3 - Tailor the skills and qualifications on your resume to the job

Take a look at the essential skills required on the job ad and see if you can incorporate them into your list of skills. 

Step #7: Include Optional Resume Sections 

Congrats - you can finally stretch your legs and even allow yourself a little pat on the back. 

The additional sections are not mandatory in a resume, so if you’ve reached your resume space limit, you can just call it a day and save your resume. 

They are, however, a great way to show off additional assets such as languages, hobbies and interests, and even volunteering experience on your resume

Pro Tip:

  • Remember to also determine your language knowledge levels. Those are Native, Fluent, Proficient, Intermediate, and Basic. 

In the off chance that you still have some space left - considering resumes should be 1-2 pages at most and that Word templates are not as good at saving space as online resume builders - you can include the following optional sections: 

  • Certifications and Awards
  • Publications 
  • Projects 

Follow the same practice as with the skills section, and you’re good to go!

How to Format Your Word Resume 

With all the essentials covered, let’s go over some formatting tips such as fonts, line spacing, and headings so that your Word resume looks as uniform and clean-cut as possible. 

Best Resume Fonts in Word 

We cannot repeat this enough - the resume font you use, matters. It matters just as much as first appearances matter and we all know they do, a lot. 

The font that you decide to use will impact your resume readability whether you like it or not, so you should use a font that will help you stand out, but not in a bad way. What’s a bad way? Comic Sans and other similarly-looking comic fonts. 

The usual Times New Roman, point-12, formula, on the other hand, will just blend you with the crowd. 

Instead, consider using one of the following recruiter-friendly fonts which will complement your resume both on-screen and in printed form, according to Business News Daily:  

  • Calibri
  • Cambria
  • Garamond
  • Didot
  • Georgia
  • Helvetica
  • Arial 
  • Book Antiqua
  • Trebuchet MS

Optimal Line Spacing for a Word Resume  

The good thing about the Word resume template is that it usually has fonts and line spacing covered for you, yet it’s still good to know that the best line spacing for resumes is 1 or 1.15 between text and double lines after headings.

Feel free, however, to play around with line spacing when it comes to adjusting your resume layout.

Headings in a Word Resume

Again, Word templates do a good job of making the headings stand out. As a rule of thumb - and as is noticeable in the above examples - headings should be bigger than the rest of the text. So, if you’re using a 12 pt text, consider adjusting the headings between 14-16 pt. 

You can also underline or bold each resume section heading, or even use a different font, but as we always advise: don’t go overboard and try to maintain the style of the Word resume template that you have chosen.

And by now, you should have a complete resume in Word that looks like this:

word resume example

Key Takeaways 

Well, here you have it - your nicely tailored resume in Word, ready to land you that job interview. 

Although not the easiest task, we are convinced this article has given you all the necessary information on how to make a resume in Word and the confidence to do so easily. 

Here’s what’s good to remember: 

  • Order your resume sections properly, usually in reverse-chronological order. 
  • Make sure that your section headings stand out from the rest of the text, by usually using a larger font size.
  • Check if your chosen font, line spacing, and margins are aligned, readable, and professional-looking. 
  • Opt for an online resume builder such as the one Novorésumé provides for a more modern, time-saving, and HR-friendly resume.