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How to Create a Winning Resume in Microsoft Word

Jun 20 2023

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MS Word


General Technology

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4 min

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With the job market being more competitive than ever these days, having a resume helps showcase your skills and experience to your hiring managers.

Microsoft Word on both desktop and online offers free resume templates you can use to highlight your accomplishments – you simply just fill in your information and the layout has been created for you.

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to create a winning resume.

Create a resume in Microsoft Word on Windows

1. Open Microsoft Word, click on the File menu, and then click New to create a new document.

A list of available templates for various types of Word documents will appear on the right side of the interface. Select Resumes and Cover Letters under the search bar and look through the simple resume examples available.

A preview list of MS Word’s resume and cover letter templates

2. Choose the right resume template

The Resumes and Cover Letters section includes a range of styles and functionality. Some templates focus on style while others focus on specific purposes, such as resumes for students, specific job roles, and to highlight certain sections to tailor your approach.

A preview of job specific resume templates in MS Word

Explore the options and pick the template that suits you best. Some templates include tailored sections, so you don’t have to worry about how to write a resume right off the bat.

Filling in fields in an MS Word resume template

3. Format your resume

Once you've selected your template, use the formatting features to further customize your resume. Note that if you select a resume template that has design elements, like colored backgrounds, you won’t be able to change the color, so choose wisely.

You can use formatting tools like reflection, shadow, and glow to format your text and make your resume more visually interesting.

Click on the Text Effects button on the Home tab to try some of these tools.

Text effects options in MS Word

You can also insert SmartArt graphics into your resume to enhance the visual appeal. For example, use charts and graphs to go along with the text in your resume.

Click on the Insert tab and then the SmartArt or Chart buttons to experiment with these features.

Note that if Microsoft Word crashes or closes unexpectedly, you can use these tips to recover your unsaved Word document.

Create a resume in Microsoft Word Online

If you’re using MS Word Online, here’s what you need to do to find the best free resume templates.

1. Open a new document in MS Word Online and click on the Designer icon:

Accessing the Designer feature in MS Word Online

2. On the right-side panel of the screen, search under Resume and sift through the templates by clicking on the arrows or clicking on Show All:

Browsing the Designer resume templates available in MS Word Online

This will give you thumbnails of each resume template.

3. Click on any template thumbnail to review how it will look as a document:

Previewing a resume template in MS Word Online 

You can also review Cover letter templates in the same manner:

Previewing a cover letter template in MS Word Online

You can then start editing. Click on each field, one at a time, and enter the corresponding information – your name, contact information, education, work experience, recommendations, and so on.

While you won’t have the full formatting toolbox of Microsoft Word on your desktop, you can still easily change text, even font style and color.

Work with your PDF resume using Xodo

Once you are satisfied with the way your resume looks, secure your document and protect it from being edited by anyone else by converting DOCX to PDF using Xodo’s free Word to PDF online tool. No software downloads needed. Test out everything the Xodo suite has to offer risk-free!

Explore All Xodo Tools

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Reena Cruz

PDF Productivity Expert

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