You don’t need Microsoft Office to put together a professional-looking resume. Google Docs is completely free and offers a variety of resume templates, so you can focus on highlighting your skills instead of fiddling with formatting.
While Microsoft has their own Office Online (formerly Office Web Apps) solution, it offers very limited templates and no resume template. You’d have to do the formatting work yourself. Google Docs is the easiest, quickest option here.
Choose Your Resume Template
Google Docs is Google’s Microsoft Office competitor. Like most other Google services, it’s a completely free web application you access in your browser. Google Docs is now part of Google Drive, Google’s online file-storage service.
We like Google Docs for this because of the templates it offers. Sure, you could try to open the WordPad program included with Windows and put together a nicely formatted resume, but you’d go crazy trying to do all the formatting by hand. The resume templates in Google Docs make this much quicker.
Head over to the Google Docs Template Gallery page to browse the templates. If you’re not signed in with a Google account, you’ll have to sign in first — if you don’t have one, they’re free.
We’re making a resume, so perform a search for “resume” on the template gallery page. The top seven results here are official resume templates created by Google.
Click the Preview button to see a resume design up close. Select your favorite one and click Use this template.
Put Together Your Resume
Google Docs will automatically create a new document using the template and open it for you. Edit the template to fill in your own personal information and work experience. You don’t have to worry about saving — Google Docs will automatically save the document as you type. You’ll find the document in your Google Drive at http://drive.google.com/ .
Bear in mind that you’ll probably want to include a cover letter, too. You’ll find cover letter templates on the template gallery site, including some designed to match up nicely with some of the resume templates.
We’re no career advice website, so actually putting together the resume and writing the cover letter is up to you!
Download or Print Your Resume
Once you’re done, you’ll need to get the resume out of Google Docs. If you want to print it, click the File menu in Google Docs and select Print. Don’t use your browser’s Print option or you’ll print the entire web page instead of just the document.
If you need to email or upload the resume as a file, you’ll want to download it in either Microsoft Word or PDF format. Some companies require a specific format, so be sure to check the format they want and use that one. If they’ll accept either a Word document or a PDF document, you’ll probably want to choose PDF. Google Docs might have some issues when converting more complex formatting to a Word document, although this hopefully won’t be a problem with these simple templates. PDF documents look the same on every computer, so you won’t have to worry about any formatting inconsistencies.
To download the document in your chosen format, click File, point to Download As, and select a file type.
If you’d like to use Microsoft Office for this, Microsoft actually offers a free, month-long trial you can take advantage of. The Office 365 Home Premium trial allows you to download Microsoft Office for your Windows 7, Windows 8, or Mac computer and use it for a month. After that, you’ll have to pay $10 per month or $100 per year to keep using it.