Touch up Tips for your Resume

Almost any expert will tell you that having a strong resume is one of the most important parts of your job search (and one of the more nerve-racking parts). Using resume templates provided by Microsoft Word and other desktop publishers is one way to format your resume; however, there are two big downsides to using such tools. First, they tend to allow the user little flexibility in modifying the template to fit individual needs. More importantly, though, after reviewing even a small number of resumes, template resumes are easy to spot, and that’s not a good thing. You want your resume to stick out because you are qualified for the position, not because your resume looks like all the other resumes. Whenever I review a resume that appears to have been made with a template, I often comment that much of the formatting that the templates use can be fairly easily reproduced using regular formatting. However, I have quickly found that not all students agree with me; despite having used Word to write papers for classes almost all their lives, they are still not completely aware of how to do various formatting tricks with Word. That’s what this tutorial is about. If you are getting ready to write a resume for the first time, use this guide to decide what formatting to use. If your resume just spills onto two pages, use this guide to help trim up extra space. If you just need to polish up the formatting, use this guide to touch up those last few things. This guide will help you take an ordinary resume and really add some professionalism to it by adding or modifying some simple formatting using Word.

*This guide was created for use with Microsoft Word because it is the most common word processing software. Many of the principles hold true with other software however, including WordPerfect or Open Office Writer. The steps might be different using these other programs.

How to change margins
Most resume experts and employers will tell you that resumes for entry-level positions should be kept to one page. But what should you do when your resume goes onto a second page? One of the first ways to try to get more space is to shrink the margins of your resume. Most students leave them at the page defaults, but by adjusting the margins many students are able to gain valuable space. There are two ways to change the margins: 1. Go up to the File menu, and select “Page Setup.”

2. Or you can simply double-click on in the brown/gray section of the ruler at the top of the page.

This part

Either way you choose, you should get a text box that looks like this:

Click on the “Margins” tab

You can then change the margins on the page (top, bottom, left and right). Some experts will tell you that margins can be as small as .5,” but .7 – .8” is probably best.

How to set tabs
One of the biggest complaints I get is from students who want to align several lines of text in the middle or right side of the paper, but don’t know how. All too often they end up spacing over and trying to “eyeball” the alignment. Most of the time, though, it comes across looking something like this: 1305 Linden Drive, Suite 205 Madison, WI 53706 608.262.8051 As you might be able to see, the lines are not aligned, and it can be quite tedious and annoying to try to get it just right. One of the easiest ways to fix this is to set a tab on the ruler bar. This will allow you to press the “Tab” key and have everything line up. To set tabs, perhaps the quickest and easiest way is to just click on the Ruler Bar where you want to set your tab.

Simply click anywhere along the ruler at the top of the page.

The tab will appear as this:

Now you can just press the Tab key, and all lines of text will align where the tab has been set to. The results should look like: 1305 Linden Drive, Suite 205 Madison, WI 53706 608.262.8051 You can use this feature to align addresses, dates of employment/involvement, relevant courses, activities, or any other text you might have on your resume. If you want to align dates down the right margin, knowing where you set a tab will help keep everything aligned throughout.

How to remove hyperlinks
One of the most common complaints I hear from students and employers has to do with hyperlinks. They’re the things that turn your email address and other internet addresses from this: mdnelson2@wisc.edu into this: mdnelson2@wisc.edu. You don’t want your email address to appear blue on an otherwise crisp resume (or grey if you don’t have a color printer) yet only about half of the students I meet with know how to fix this common problem. All you have to do is move your cursor over the text that appears as a hyperlink and right-click. It should give you a drop-down menu that looks like this: Select the option that says, “Remove Hyperlink.” The text will turn black (or whatever the default color is), and the underline will be removed. Your hyperlink has been removed.

“AutoCorrect” Feature
To prevent Microsoft Word from automatically converting email addresses and URLs into hyperlinks, you can disable the AutoCorrect function that is responsible. On the menu bar, simply go to Tools → “AutoCorrect Options.”

Once you do that, you will get a screen that looks like this: Click on the “AutoFormat As You Type” tab.

Unclick the box that reads, “Internet and network paths with hyperlinks.” This will keep Word from automatically changing email addresses and websites into hyperlinks.

How to Underline Section Headings
One feature that can really make resumes stand out as organized and professional is the use of lines, particularly when they are used to separate sections on a resume. There are several ways to produce lines using Word, each with their own pros and cons. 1. Using the underline formatting tool To make a line that looks like this: Education Just turn on the underlining feature (Ctrl+U), type your section title, and tab to the end of the line. An easy way to do this is to set a tab (see previous section about setting tabs) on the far right on the page where you want the line to end. You could just space across to the end of the page, and the same effect would be achieved, but tabbing across is usually easier. If you would prefer it look something like this: Education Just type your section title as you would like it to appear, press tab until you have a gap, then turn on the underlining formatting feature, and tab to the end of the line (or wherever you would like the underline to end). If your lines appear different from each other, make sure the “Bold” feature is the same, as is the font size for each line.

2. Using the line tool from the Drawing Toolbar The other way to make lines on your resume is to use the Drawing Toolbar. To access this, go up to View → Toolbars → Drawing.

Once you click on “Drawing,” this toolbar will appear at the bottom of your screen:

Click on the button that looks like this to get a line:

You might get a box that looks like this:

Just press “Delete” to get rid of the box.

You should then see the following instead of the normal cursor: Click where you want your line to begin, and continue to hold while you drag the mouse to where you want the line to end. When you release the button, your line should look like this:

By clicking on the small circles on either end, you can change the length of the line. Or by clicking on the line itself, you can move it around and place it wherever you would like it on the document. The down side to using the drawing toolbar to put lines on your resume, though, is that they can be very hard to place with precision. NOTE: With both, know that when submitting your resume to be scanned into a database, it is best to avoid lines altogether. Many scanning programs are unable to read lines on resumes. So a safe bet if you are unsure about whether your resume will be scanned or not is to avoid lines altogether.

How to use bullet points to organize your resume
The first time your resume is looked at by an employer, he/she usually spends only 10-30 seconds skimming your resume. We only have that much time to make a positive impression! Using bullet points is an easy way to increase the ease with which your resume is skimmed. Many employers, especially those of recent college graduates, prefer them. Be sure to make the most of bullets! The easiest way to get started is by clicking on the “Bullets” button on the Formatting Toolbar (if you don’t see this button, go to View → Toolbars → Formatting).

Right here. It’s the button that looks like this: Once you click on that button, Word will create a bulleted list for you. When you type your descriptive lines, Word automatically determines where the text begins and how to align the second line of your description (should it continue onto a second line). If you press “Enter,” a second bullet will appear, already aligned with the first. However, sometimes by accepting the default settings, students are wasting a lot of space on their resume. For example: • Proofread students’ papers and meet with them individually to discuss comments and feedback

• Proofread students’ papers and meet with them individually to discuss comments and feedback In this case, the first example wastes a whole line for just two words. By shifting the bullets to the left, we can fit more on a line, thus preserving important space on the resume. All of the tools you need to adjust the bullets are on the ruler bar at the top of the page.

This whole thing is the ruler bar. This determines where the bullet point is located.

This determines where the text starts after the bullet. This determines where the text starts if the description wraps onto a second line.

By playing with those settings, you should be able to adjust how the bullets appear on your resume.

Other Space-Saving Ideas
Instead of having a full line between your section heading and experience, or between experiences, consider shrinking the size of the space in between. For example, instead of this: EDUCATION University of Wisconsin – Madison Consider this: EDUCATION University of Wisconsin – Madison This extra line is a smaller 3 point space. This extra line is a full 12 point space.

By decreasing the size of the line in between, you can gain a few extra lines on your resume while still leaving enough white space to keep your resume attractive, readable, and un-intimidating. To do this, double-click on the white space that represents the line until you get a black box that looks like this:

(you might have to try all the way to the left of the page) and change the font size on the formatting toolbar.

Instead of listing your contact information on separate lines for the street, city/state/zip, phone number, and email address, consider putting it all on one line or doubling up information. For example, instead of this: 1305 Linden Drive, Suite 205 Madison, WI 53706 (608) 555-1234 anystudent@wisc.edu Consider this: 1305 Linden Drive, Suite 205 • Madison, WI 53706 • (608) 555-1234 • anystudent@wisc.edu The bullets in between were inserted by going to Insert → Symbol… and selecting the image of a simple bullet (NOTE: on your resume, you generally want to stay simple instead of trying an fancy bullet mark).

Appropriate Fonts and Font Sizes for your Resume
There are no “right” fonts for resumes, but there can be some “wrong” fonts. In general, limit your font choice to one of the standard fonts, such as: Times New Roman Arial Bookman Old Style Helvetica Overly ornate fonts will only detract from the professionalism of your resume. Furthermore, if you send your resume as an attachment, using one of the common fonts is important so that whoever opens your resume can view it in its proper font.

Font size is another very important consideration on your resume. Microscopic fonts will get your resume thrown out (who wants to squint to try to read a resume?), while fonts that are too large take up precious space and can give the impression that your experience is thin. So what are appropriate font sizes for the different parts of your resume? Name: 16-20 point font - your name should be the most prominent piece of information, and should be a few points larger than the rest of your resume 8-12 point font 11-12 point font 10-12 point font – avoid 10 point Times New Roman, though

Address: Section Headings: Descriptive lines, etc:

Overall suggestions for formatting your resume in Microsoft Word
• • • • Use bullets to organize your descriptive lines or other points Use tabs to move across the page, not spaces Remove unnecessary words (a, an, the, etc) to “tighten” language and make your resume easy to read Use bold, italics, or CAPS to set apart section headings and information – one word of caution, however, use these only for a final printed copy. Resume scanners used by some companies can’t always recognize italics or bold; when electronically sending a resume, avoid bold and italics. They can be nice when you’re personally delivering a resume or when taking to an interview (or informational interview). When saving your resume, include your name (e.g. Joe Smith Resume.doc) so recruiters can easily identify whose file it is. Stay conservative with the type of bullet you use; avoid flowery or fancy bullet points. Use full bullets (•, ) instead of dashes (-) or asterisks (*). The exception comes when sending your resume electronically. Just as with bold and italics, some resume scanners cannot read the bullet points, but can read dashes or asterisks. For the printed version, use full bullets. Once you’re done polishing your resume, go back and save a plain text version for scanning or copying and pasting into text boxes on web sites.

• • •

How to Convert your Resume to Plain Text
Many resume systems cannot read formatted resumes; those that are scanned into databases have to avoid flowery or sophisticated formatting. Convert your resume to plain text format to ensure your resume is able to be scanned into databases or if you have to copy and paste your resume into a text box on a web site. To do so, go to File →Save As… Name your document (preferably with your name included in the file name), and select “Plain text (*.txt)” as the file type.

Then go back, open the document in the plain text writer, and make sure it looks OK. The only “formatting” you usually can do is spacing, using CAPS, and asterisks. Once your resume is saved in plain text, you can be sure that it can be read by any computer or resume scanner.

Putting it all together
Contact information is centered at the top with appropriate font sizes

Charles Kohler
cjkohler@wisc.edu

No hyperlink appears on his email address

Present Address: 1335 Water Street #212, Madison, WI 53703 (608) 555-1733 Permanent Address: 812 North Woodley, Northfield, MN 55057 (507) 555-5447

Education
University of Wisconsin-Madison The underline feature is used to create lines that divide sections Bachelor of Arts, May 2005 Major: Journalism Area of Emphasis: Advertising and Public Relations A tab set 3” from the margin helps align a list Relevant Courses Media Planning Copy and Layout Publicity Media and Methods Mass Media and the Consumer Survey Research News Writing and Reporting

Media-Related Experience
Milwaukee Journal, Communications Intern: Milwaukee, WI, Summer 2004 Advertising • Wrote and proofread copy for ads with circulation of 75,000 • Sold and serviced accounts in fast-paced environment • Generated $3,000 in revenue for the newspaper

Public Relations • Generated ideas, interviewed sources, and wrote stories for monthly newsletter with distribution to over 2,000 regional and national websites • Facilitated weekly media events and created organizational system for clips • Coordinated special events with average attendance of 700 and average budget of $30,000 Professional Development • Increased awareness of industry while shadowing all departments in Newspaper Education Program • Attended weekly advertising in-service workshops • Gained insight into practical applications of advertising and public relations strategies in work environment School of Journalism, Promotional Campaigns Team Project: University of Wisconsin - Madison, Fall 2004 • Developed ad campaign for local organization and learned advertising strategies • Collaborated with colleagues to research organization, develop campaign, and create plan book

Charles bolds and italicizes to highlight information, and uses bullets to organize descriptive lines. The white space between sections isn’t a full 12 point font size, but 6 points to save space.

Additional Employment
Student Orientation Programs, Receptionist: Madison, WI Fontana Sports Store, Sales Consultant: Madison, WI Ideal Café, Wait staff: Northfield, MN January 2003 - Present October 2001 - November 2002

Summers 2001, 2002

Leadership Involvements
Society of Professional Journalism Students, Social Committee Chair Campus Newspaper, Daily Cardinal Advertising Manager Social Fraternity, Secretary and Pledge Class President References Available Upon Request Academic 2004 - 2005 Academic 2002 - 2004 Academic 2001 - 2002

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