Four Microsoft Word Tips for the Resume Do-It-Yourselfer

When writing your resume, content is first and foremost. As more and more resumes are electronically scanned and entered into applicant tracking systems, sometimes an end user doesn't see anything BUT the content. But let's face it, looks matter too sometimes, right? Since your resume and cover letter are really the only aspect of your job search that are under your control, better to err on the safe side and be sure that your resume will stand out from the crowd. In fact, one of the best reasons to work with a professional resume writer is that making beautiful resumes with great content is what they're experts at. If you decide to go it alone, here are some Microsoft Word 2007 tips to help you catch the eye of recruiters doing a quick scan.
  1. Easily add horizontal lines. Word 2007 has an awesome feature that allows you to quickly insert horizontal lines in your document. Type the header you'd like, such as Professional Experience, then space and enter the three characters associated with the horizontal line you'd like to insert and press enter. There are six different horizontal line break shortcuts available: 1. 3 dashes - creates a thin horizontal line 2. 3 asterisks - creates a dotted line 3. 3 underscores - creates a thick horizontal line 4. 3 equal signs - creates a double horizontal line 5. 3 pound signs - creates a thin/thick/thin triple line 6. 3 tides (the wavy line to the left of your 1 button at the top of your keyboard) - creates a wavy horizontal line. These lines can be tricky to remove if you don't know how. Simply select the text that line is over or under, and from your Page Layout menu, select Page Borders. In the pop-up window, select the Borders tab and use the Preview area to remove or add borders as appropriate. Be sure to have the Paragraph option selected from the pull down menu, otherwise you will apply borders to the individual words.

  2. Add a Border Around the Page. Adding a page border is a nice formatting feature. It tightens up the document and gives it a polished feel. Plus, it couldn't be simpler! To add a Page Border, select Page Borders from your Page Layout menu. From the Setting options on the left hand side of the pop-up menu, select Box. You can alter the thickness and the type of line in this menu area as well.

  3. Use a Table Without Borders to Line Up Skills. For the skills section of your resume, insert a table into the body of your resume. To do this, select the "insert" menu, then click on table and select the size table you need. I usually use a 3 x 3 table for the skills section but you can size the table to accommodate the number of cells you require. To remove borders, hover your mouse over table until you see an icon that looks like a cross. Right click when you see that symbol and, from the menu that pops up, select borders and shading. Click on the top option - None - under settings to remove borders. You can also add bullets inside the table and adjust indents like you would for regular text.

  4. Use a Different Header and Footer on Page 1 for Resumes With More Than One Page. I often use a different header and footer on page two than I do on page one. I like to use a big, bold header on page one and just the applicants name and Page X on any subsequent pages. I often put contact info in the footer on page two. It's important to identify the applicant on each page in case the pages get separated. To accomplish this, select the Insert menu and then click on Header. From the menu that pops up, select Edit Header. Check the box next to Different First Page from the toolbar ribbon. I often find that if I have already set up my first page header before I do this, the first page header shows up on the second page, leaving the first page blank. To fix this, just select the second page header and cut and paste it from page two to page one.
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