While it’s possible to apply for jobs without a resume, most hiring managers and agencies prefer to have one from their candidates. But what if you don’t own Microsoft Word? In this post, we’re going to walk you through how to create your resume without spending any money on Microsoft Word or any other program.
Sign Into Gmail or Set Up a Gmail Account
First, you’ll need to sign into your Gmail account by going to www.gmail.com. If you don’t already have a Gmail account, create one by clicking the “Create account” link that you will see at the bottom of the Sign in screen.
Keep your email address professional – ideally just using your name. In the case of a common name, you’ll have to get creative by adding a middle initial, middle name, number (tip: don’t use your birth year) or something else to make it a unique account. Resist all temptation to make this account name [email protected] or something that will make your potential new employer see you as less than professional.
Open Google Docs
While still signed into your email account, go to https://docs.google.com and click on the Template Gallery.
A series of templates will appear in different categories. For the purposes of this post, we will choose the Coral template, found in the Resume section, by clicking on it once.
Replace the Template Text with Your Own Information
Once you select your template, Google Docs will launch and you will be able to replace the template information with your own.
- In the case of the Coral template, we want to remove the word “Hello” from the top because it is too casual for a resume. Do this by highlighting the word “Hello” and clicking the Delete button twice. This will not only remove the word, but delete the extra line.
- Highlight “I’m Your Name,” but do not hit the Delete button this time. Instead, just type your name. For our example, we will replace it with “Joe Smith.”
- Repeat this for each line of the contact information (Street Address, City, State, Zip Code, Phone Number and Email Address).
- Double check that you have replaced all of your template information with your own.
Here’s an example:
Fill Out the Skills Section
Many employers use software called Applicant Tracking Systems, sometimes referred to as an ATS. These systems allow them to search many resumes for certain skills they are looking for in a future employee. In this section, you’ll want to keep in mind the words (called keywords) they might be searching for the types of positions you’ll be applying to.
Tip: Look at the job posting to help you figure out what words to use.
For Joe Smith, we will put in words that highlight his experience as a warehouse worker.
Fill out the Experience Section
Now it’s time to share where you’ve worked, when you worked there and what you did on the job. You’ll do this by starting with the job you have currently (or the most recent job you had) and working your way back through your experience. This shows your future employer what you did most recently first, which is what they will be most interested in.
- Enter the month and year you started, a dash and then the month and year you left that position. If you are still working there, type “Present” instead of an ending date. We’ll do this in Joe’s sample resume below.
- Enter the company name, the city and state where they are located and your job title.
- Explain in the bullet points what you did every day on your job. More detail is better. This gives your future employer an idea of what you can do! If you know quantities or any other details, put them here. If you can work in some of the keywords you put in your Skills section, you should.
- Repeat this process until you’ve gone back about 10-15 years or reach 2 full pages – whichever comes first.
Fill Out the Education Section
You’re almost done! Next, we’ll be filling out where you went to school. If you went to college, start with that information. Just like with your employment history, we’ll be working from the most recent information to the earliest information. If you don’t have any college experience, go right into your high school information.
- Highlight the area that shows the dates and hit the Delete key once. It’s generally not necessary to give the dates of your education. In fact, including it may enable some people to discriminate against you for your age.
- Type in your high school name and where it was located. We will just leave the dash and the word “Degree” there if you graduated. If you did not graduate, put the last year you completed. We’ll do this for Joe’s example so you can see what that looks like.
- If you studied in a vocational program or anything that directly relates to your future job, list that information. If not, highlight this entire line and delete it.
Fill Out the Awards Section (Or Add More Information)
Think of this section as extra credit. If you’d like to, you can highlight this entire section (the word “Awards” and the black type beneath it) and hit the Delete key. But, you can also use it as an opportunity to get your future employer excited about you!
Perhaps you coach softball or volunteer at a cat shelter. This is just the place to include that great information! Or maybe you won the Attendance Award. That’s something that will help sell your future employer on hiring you over the next person. For our sample resume, we’ll assume Joe has both an award and does some interesting things outside of work.
- Add the words “and Volunteering” to the end of the word “Awards”
- Highlight the sample text and start typing your examples. Use one line for each different item. Add a dash after the item and, just like you did for your experience, include when this experience took place.
Rename your Resume
Your recruiter probably receives hundreds of resumes in a week. You want to call your resume something that makes it easy for them to find. The best way to do that is to use your name and the date. Another good reason to do this is that you’ll also know that you’re sending the most recent version of your resume when you apply for a job.
- In the upper left-hand corner, you’ll see the word Resume. Highlight this word and rename it in this format: First Middle Last Resume Date (it will look like this: Joe R Smith Resume November 2018).
- That’s it! Google will automatically save this document for you in your Google Drive (which is something you get as a part of having a Gmail account).
Review your Resume
Look over your completed resume to check for typos and spelling errors. If you look at nothing else, make sure your contact information is correct so your future employer can get in touch if they are interested in you. There is a tool built into Google Docs to check for spelling errors. Just click on Tools-> Spelling -> Spell Check (see image).
Sending your Resume
You’ll be able to locate and attach your resume to an email in Gmail by clicking on the icon next to the smiley face. When you hover over it, it will say “Insert files using Drive.”
If you need to send your resume through a website, you’ll need to download your resume from your Google Drive (https://drive.google.com when you’re signed into your Gmail account).
It’s easy to create your resume for free even if you don’t have Microsoft Word. Just follow the steps we’ve outlined above.
If you’re stuck on any step, just comment below or message us on Facebook.
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