Microsoft Word Resume Hacks

This well written guest post is by Betsy VandeBeld of HR Consulting and touches on the proper use of Microsoft Word for something important like a Resume.

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!

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.

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”.


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.

Until I met Scott By Guest Blogger Sherry Main

Take Flight With Me   Take Flight, with me                 Guest Blog Post, by Sherry Main


Until I met Scott


Thank you Scott for allowing me to share my computer experience with your followers. Until I met Scott from Scott’s Computer Emporium my quest for a local computer repair person was less than desired. If you want professionalism, timely and efficient repairs at a low cost call Scott. Don’t waste time, like I did.

I love writing and editing. My personal company is, “Take Flight, with me”, found on Facebook pages. I write corporate blogs and newsletters, write personal books and short stories all despite the handicap of not having a laptop because I chose an inept repair person. Please check me out and let me know you have dropped by.

It is important to me to promote local economy. I try to avoid chain stores, do not support Sunday shopping (that is a family day), purchase at the local farmer’s markets or local farms and use independent repair shops when possible, like Scotts. I live outside Brantford now or I likely could have avoided my personal nightmare. Let me tell you a bit about what happened and how to avoid the same mistakes. I depend on my computer and this was a costly repair. A legal case is pending so no names or personal information.

I took my laptop in for repairs after I broke the end of my charging adaptor while pushing it into a USB port, in the middle of the night. The adaptor did not fit into a USB port, but the repair person saw fit to pry and dig out one of the USB ports and fried the mother board, but blamed me, 7 months later, when he still hadn’t repaired my laptop. They told me I needed a small part from Indonesia to fix the laptop. Every three weeks I dropped by to see if the part had arrived, fearing it was taped to the back of a snail headed in the wrong direction. Do snails swim?

Finally, I asked for my laptop back. But, the repair person was selling parts off my computer. They did not think my regular visits meant I expected a repair. After calling the police, the laptop was reassembled and I picked it up.  I took it into Scott for his opinion. Scott gave me a full analysis, a written report about wrong parts given, the broken computer etc. complete with pictures and transcripts. I was extremely impressed with Scott’s thoroughness and professionalism.

Before you take your computer to a local repair shop (and, I still highly recommend this) please arm yourself with some research. First, if the store looks pretty with all the newest computer pictures, ask questions. Even before dropping into the local computer repair shop check their website. If the company has no reviews ask why. If the computer site isn’t worthy of a computer specialist – run. The company should list their credentials; schooling and experience. Don’t stop there.

I found out most of my information by typing in the company name. Business reviews are posted. You can find out how long the store has operated, if the company is community spirited, if this is a subsidiary company and so on. Ask any questions before you take your computer in for repairs. Get quotes and a written work order. If they will not give you one – run faster.. It is worth your while. I wish I had done this before, instead of after my nightmare.

Scott from Scott’s Computer Emporium helped me in ways I cannot find words to describe his help. Professional advice, technical support and ongoing support are part of who Scott is. In my many years of repair, support in many areas Scott outranks them all. He is worth the drive to Brantford.

I know Scott is planning for the Christmas season. He offers complete setup and suggests appropriate programs for your needs. He is also writing a blog, with me, about computer safety. He will cover technical advice and I will add expertise in keeping safe.

Read Scott’s blog the third Tuesday of every month. If you don’t find a topic covered send him an email.


Happy 2015 Holidays!