Need a job? Be sure that your resume is top-notch or it’s likely to end up in the trash. Fortunately, most word processing programs include templates to create a polished-looking resume. Simply fill in the blanks and you’re done.
As you build your resume keep in mind that the days of elaborate, expensive, and colorful resumes are a thing of the past. Always stick to a brief, one to two page resume in a back on white format.
Resumes have unusual formatting. Headings are usually to the left, with their information on the right. That formatting can be difficult to achieve. The formatting is already done in the templates.
Since most of the world uses Microsoft Word, here’s how to start with that program. If you use another word processor, check the Help feature and search for templates. They’re in most programs.
Microsoft Word includes three resume templates — Elegant, Professional and Contemporary. To find them, select File and New. On the New Document panel, click General Templates. Select the Other Documents tab.
These resumes are mostly filled in. If you’re unsure of what you should say, they can give you some direction. You can simply type over the information that is already there. For instance, in the name area, highlight the name by dragging the mouse over it, and then enter yours.
If you prefer, you can use the resume wizard. It is in the same window as the three resumes. The wizard includes several easy steps.
It requires you to enter some information pertinent to any resume — name, address, etc. It also gives you a wide selection of headings to include. Some, such as job history and educational background, should always be in your resume. Many others are questionable.
These templates use typical resume style, with headings to the left and information on the right. If you prefer that your resume ‘s style stand out, check out the templates on Microsoft’s Web site. To get there, select File and New in Word, and then click “Templates on Microsoft.com.” Select the “Your Career” section and then, Resumes.
These templates are easy to download. Find the one you like and click Download Now. You’ll have to go through a few steps, after which the template will open as a Word document.
The Web templates work like those installed in Word. Click on the place where you want to enter something, and then type. It’s simple.
Most companies should have no problem opening a Word document. If the company wants the resume in Adobe PDF (Portable Document Format), you can convert it online at no charge.
Adobe (https://createpdf.adobe.com) allows you to convert up to 5 files free. GoBCL (http://www.gobcl.com) converts as many files as you like, as long as the size of each doesn’t exceed 500 KB.
A resume is only part of the battle. You also need a nice cover letter. A misspelled word will count against you, so be careful. If you know what you want to say, Word itself includes templates for professional letters. Just follow the style and hold forth.
Not everyone knows what to say. For them, Microsoft has two templates online. They may not meet your needs exactly, but they should be helpful. Again, select File and New, and then click “Templates on Microsoft.com.” Under the “Your Career” heading, select Cover Letters.
One final tip: Before sending your resume by e-mail to a prospective employer, e-mail it to yourself. Double-check that the résumé’s formatting is retained.
If you still have questions after you build your resume email it to your favorite recruiter and ask their opinion.