Applying for a job can feel overwhelming. You need to compile your information, address criteria, remember highlights, provide examples, record dates, list references… all the while, trying to make a good impression. Talk about pressure!

The good news is, Microsoft has taken the hard work out of constructing a resume. You can simply pick from their selection of templates and fill in the blanks.

Learn how to use resume templates in Word, edit existing designs or create your own.

Why Use Resume Templates?

Using templates has many advantages:

Major time-saver – you can get straight into writing without spending time on layout and design.

Well structured – templates keep your information organised rather than you trying to work out what goes where.

Ensures you don’t miss anything – using a format means you’re less likely to forget any important information.

Looks professional – first impressions are highly important. Showing you’ve made effort to provide a presentable resume can send a great message before they’ve even read it.

More eye-catching – you need to stand out from a sea of resumes. Having a professionally designed template can do this. It doesn’t have to be outlandish, there are many polished, elegant and modern designs to choose from.

Focus on content – instead of worrying about structure and design, you can put all your focus on the information you want to provide.

Use various formats – not every job requires the same skill sets, so you can use different templates to cater for each job type (e.g. one for customer service, one for management, one for sales etc.)

Choosing a Template

When you open a new document, you are given the choice of using a blank document or selecting from a template.

There is a wide range of templates available, from business reports to brochures, letters, calendars and invitations. Among this selection are some great resume templates. They’re perfect to use as they look professional and they’re eye-catching.

1. Open a new document.

2. From the suggested search, select ‘Resumes and Cover Letters.’

Resume and cover letter template selection

3. Here, you can browse a great range of resumes and letters (if you want to narrow your search, you can type ‘resumes’ into the search bar).

4. Double click on your preferred template to open.

Word resume template example

Using LinkedIn Template Option

When the template opens, a box will appear on the right-hand side labelled, ‘Resume Assistant.’ This is powered by LinkedIn and provides suggestions and examples of how people describe their work experience.

However, to do this, you need to agree to send your resume information to LinkedIn. Be sure to read LinkedIn’s privacy policy and terms carefully before using this option. As a rule, I would avoid sending personal information over the internet.

To remove the LinkedIn option, close the pane by pressing the X in the top right corner.

LinkedIn Resume Assistant

How to Edit a Template

Simply click on the field you want to change and type. It’s as easy as that.

To change the picture:

1. Click your mouse on the image so it shows the corner handles.

2. Press the tab ‘Shape Format’ that appears in the top ribbon.

3. Select ‘Shape Fill’ (located in the ‘Shape Styles’ group).

Format image shape

4. From the drop-down list, select ‘Picture.’

5. Pick the image file from your computer.

Not all templates will have the image in a circular shape. But you can create this from scratch and use any shape you want:

  • Insert → Shapes → select the oval shape (or any other preference).
  • Hold the shift key and drag your mouse to create a perfect circle.
  • Shape Format tab → Shape Fill→ Picture.
  • Pick the image file from your computer.

You can also create this effect in Photoshop using the Crop tool.

Once you’ve changed your image and completed all the text fields, go to ‘Save As’ and save your document.

How to Create a Resume Template

You can even create your own masterpiece in Word. There’s plenty of ways to design a document, using shapes, columns, images, icons, symbols, borders and styles.

>>click here to learn how to use styles and create your own<<

Once you’ve designed your document, you can save it as a template to keep using in the future:

1. Save As.

2. Select ‘Word Template’ from the drop-down list.

Save as custom word template

3. It should automatically save in your C Drive in the folder ‘Custom Office Templates.’

4. When you open a new document, click on ‘Personal’ and you’ll see your new template. (See video 1 for example).

To delete a custom template, got to:

C Drive/Users/(User’s name)/Documents/Custom Office Templates.

How to Create a Cover Letter

To create a cover letter, you can select a template of your choice and follow all the same steps.

If you’re still not sure about the wording, you can find examples here. Be sure to adapt it your own experiences though.  Your resume needs to be personalised, showing the employer who you are and what value you can give them. They will see through a simple ‘copy and paste’ job.

Word cover letter example..

Make a Killer First Impression

Remember, when it comes to your resume a professional look is extremely important. Equally important is spelling and grammar, so be sure to use the Editor (‘Check Document’) in the Proofing tools.

Word spell check

Another excellent source for resumes and templates is It’s a free site which I will cover in a future post – be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss it.

For more tips, Seek offer a wide range of blogs about resumes and cover letters.

Make the most of these Microsoft tools to give yourself the best chance of success. You’ll be landing that job in no time!

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  1. I continue my learning journey on Word thanks to your blog. I was thinking of updating my resume for 2020 as I’ve had the same style for a few years now so you’ve provided me with a lot of helpful info now. My current CV is created in Word but I did it all from scratch, not as a template. Excited to explore the resume template options in Word and customize from there. Thank you!


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