Use Microsoft Word, but don’t use the MS Word template. Avoid shading on your backgrounds or text. It doesn’t photocopy, fax or scan clearly.
Use Microsoft Word to prepare your resume; however, DON’T use the resume templates in Microsoft Word. Templates we have seen do not create effective resumes based on what we know about employers’ opinions.
DO create your own simple Microsoft Word format, using a table with invisible borders, as explained and shown in the example below:
1. Page margins of 1/2 to 1 inch on all sides generally look fine.
2. Except for your name, which can be larger, font sizes of 10, 11 or 12 generally look fine. Note that Arial 12 and Times 12 are not the same size. If you have trouble getting your content on one page, use a smaller font, like Arial 10.
3. Create your heading (name, addresses, phone numbers and email). You can create a three-column, two-row table (with cells merged on top row) to organize your heading, as shown below, if you find this helpful.
4. For the body of your resume, create a table; one column for headings; another column for content; one row for each heading section.
5. You can resize and realign your content easily as you revise your resume. Using the table format means you don’t have to individually tab each line of your resume.
6. Set your borders to be invisible: format > borders and shading > borders > none. You’ll see them on screen as guidelines, but they won’t print.
7. For assistance, use the “Help” function in Microsoft Word or visit the Career Services Computer Lab.
SAMPLE layout / format:
Chronological format and variations
The most common resume format is called “chronological.” It’s simply a resume that lists your education and experience in reverse chronological order – most recent items first – and it’s a good way to start a draft of your resume. Most of the samples are variations on the chronological format. You may also hear the terms “functional” or “creative” used to describe resumes. These are just variations on the chronological format that use headings that best showcase your background and qualifications.
A skills resume combines the skills you have from a variety of experiences – paid work, volunteer work, student activities, classroom work, projects, you name it – and groups these skills by category of skills that relate to the kind of job you’re seeking. This format works best when a traditional resume just doesn’t work to make you look like a good candidate even though you have relevant skills. A Career Services advisor can look at your first resume draft and help you decide if a skills format might be the best approach to use.
How to choose a format for your resume
DON’T choose a resume style simply because the fictional student in a sample has your major. Students in any major can use any resume style.
You may choose any style regardless of the type of employment you are seeking, whether internship, co-op, or permanent employment.
DO choose a format which best shows how your individual credentials support your objective.
If you are unsure, start with a chronological style (the most traditional), have your resume critiqued, and revise your resume as needed.