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Microsoft Word Resume Hacks

As a Recruiter and Professional Resume Writer, there are some resume formatting mistakes that I see over and over again, and that give me the same feeling that fingernails on a chalkboard do… For everyone’s sake (especially yours if you want a job), please let me help you!

 

Tabs
The first formatting error that gets under my skin is the improper use of tabs. Let me show you:

Team Leader, Weld Industries      2007 – 2015
Pipe Fitter, Weld Inc                  2006 – 2007
Grinder, Weld Co                               2002 – 2006

The above example used spaces to “right justify” the years of employment; note how they don’t line up! And guess what, you can try to line them up as perfect as you can with spaces, but they will not open up on another computer the same way and they will always, ALWAYS not line up.

Tabs Fixed!
Microsoft Word has this awesome feature called “tabs” that will always, ALWAYS make your work line up! First, get rid of all the spaces you’re using to create “the look” and then highlight the area of text you want to use the tabs in.  Simply go to “Paragraph”, click the little arrow button for more options, and then in the lower left corner of the window a button called “tabs” shows up (click it). Once in tabs, choose your tab stop position (I like 16.5), choose”right justify” (if that’s the look you’re going for), and click “okay”. And you’re done!

You would use the skills-based resume style if you have not specifically held similar positions to the one you are applying for, but still have the experience and talents the employer is looking for.

Note the right-justified “years of employment” on the bottom half of this skills based resume

Page Breaks

This next issue can usually be hidden by applicants, but if the resume is opened on a computer with different settings than yours it can really make your resume look messy and unprofessional.

For instance, if you’ve fit all of your resume education and highlighted skills on the first page, clicked “enter” a few times to go to the next page, and then continue with your resume you could be adding excess breaks in the page.  This will cause information on the second page to be pushed down (this will also affect subsequent pages if your document is longer than 2 pages).

Page Breaks Fixed

When you are ready to make a clear break from your cover letter to resume, or first page of your resume to your second page, click and hold “ctrl” and then hit “enter”.  No matter where you are on the page, this makes a clean page break.

 

Format Painter Hack

Once you discover this tool, you’ll be using it all the time!

Let’s say you’ve nicely formatted the title “Education” with a different font, size, bold, etc and now you want the rest of the titles in your document to match.  There’s no need to highlight the title and choose each formatting option for each title.  Instead, either click “Format Painter” once for a one time use, or double click to keep the feature on, and then highlight the text you want to paint!  The “Format Painter” option can be found under “Home” and close to the left-hand side of the options bar.

 

Pre-Made Templates

Don’t sell these templates short!  Many people have spent a lot of time developing nicely formatted and organized resume templates for everyone to use.  If you’re not sure where to start or are maybe not that familiar with Word, these templates can save you considerable time!

If you would like to view template options, go to “File”, “New”, and search “resume”.

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That’s it!  What are your favourite Microsoft Word formatting hacks and short-cuts?  Comment below or send me a message!
And if you would like professional help with writing your own resume or cover letter, please contact me for a free quote.

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