How to create a CV on Word (step-by-step plus tips)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 24 May 2022

Creating a professional, high-quality CV is ideal for making a positive first impression on potential employers. With many businesses using your CV as the first insight into your skills, qualifications and experience, a well-designed document can display all the characteristics that may make you a strong candidate. As an accessible and easily usable tool, Microsoft Word provides an effective way to create and edit CVs for a clean, streamlined result. In this article, we look at why you may choose to create a CV in Word, the steps to writing a CV and tips for using Word effectively.

Why make a CV on Word?

Creating a CV using Word has become the standard for most job seekers today, with Microsoft Word now the standard tool used by businesses and offices worldwide to create straightforward, easy to read digital documents. Many employers expect you to create a CV using a digital platform like Word, with standardised templates and information that makes it easy to decide if you're a suitable candidate for a particular job. Word templates retain their formatting and style in all Microsoft programs, Google docs and PDF forms by design, helping to establish a level of professionalism for your job applications.

Related: The ultimate guide to cv basics (with example)

The importance of a high-quality CV

When you apply for jobs, your CV provides potential employers with insight into the skills, experience and education you have that may make you a suitable choice for the role. A CV is most effective when it includes all the information required in a curated and condensed form, making it easier for employers to learn all about you in as short a time as possible. A well-designed CV can help highlight the correct information with proper formatting, making your information easy to understand.

Many employers review dozens or hundreds of CVs for each role, making it essential to have your details highlighted and readily available. Tailoring your CV design to a specific position can be an effective way to customise your application beyond your cover letter, with a range of Word templates available to add interest without causing distraction. For example, your CV for a graphic designer job may be more creative and colourful than a CV you use to apply for a job as a lawyer.

Related: Why is a CV important? everything you need to know

How to create Word doc CV

Creating a CV using Word is a quick and easy process, with various templates and designs available for you to complete a professional-looking, tailored CV. If you want to create a CV quickly for a specific job application or plan to make a CV for the first time, using Word can provide the resources you require. Here are the steps you could follow to create a CV in Microsoft Word:

1. Search for CV templates in Microsoft Word

Microsoft Word features a range of different online templates accessible directly within the program itself. Using the search bar on the 'New Page' tab, you can search for different styles and finishes of CV to suit your specific needs. Word provides free access to their templates, allowing you to download and customise different CVs to find which one best suits your requirements.

2. Gather all the information for your CV

Before replacing the template information on your chosen CV, gather all the details you want to include. Ensuring you have accurate information about your dates for employment and education, your qualifications and the job titles you have held forms a good foundation for your CV. You may also want to create a list of your key skills and abilities that apply to the role, ready to add them to your CV.

3. Enter information into the provided sections on your template

Word templates provide pre-filled content in each section to give you a guideline for what you could include on your CV. Using the text as a guide, you can enter your information to complete your CV including any keywords or buzzwords that apply to the role. Depending on the style and format of the CV, you may have more or less room for different sections and types of information.

Related: 90 of the best CV buzzwords to make your CV stand out

4. Format and streamline your CV

Once you've entered your information, you can tweak and adjust the content to fit better into the template. If there are details you want to include that don't fit, you can also change the template itself to better suit your needs. If you find your information is much longer than the text boxes provided, you could streamline and reduce the information for easier reading.

5. Review your CV or ask for a second opinion

Reviewing your CV once you're happy with the layout and information can be valuable in ensuring you avoid any errors. Asking a friend, family member or professional contact to look over your CV can also be useful in spotting problems you haven't noticed. Once you've made any amends, your CV is ready for saving to use for job applications.

6. Save your Word CV as a PDF

Many employers request CVs and cover letters in a non-editable PDF format for ease of use. Whether you're emailing an employer directly or applying to jobs through online forms, saving your Word CV in PDF format is the standard option. If you edit your Word CV after saving it as a PDF, remember to save it again for those recent changes to take effect.

What design can I use for a Word CV?

Microsoft Word CV templates come in a range of different styles from professional and straightforward layouts to bold and creative designs. The right type of design for your CV depends on the industry you're applying to work in, the formality of the role and the position you're specifically applying for. Some designs you may pick for different jobs include:

Basic designs

Basic designs are simple to use and straightforwardly convey information. If you're new to finding jobs or you don't have extensive experience in your field, a basic design can provide a way to highlight your details simply and effectively. Basic designs may also feel more professional for a range of office or corporate positions.

Bold designs

Bold designs use colour and different fonts to create a polished, attractive CV that stands out. A single accent colour is common in bold designs, helping your CV stand out without detracting attention from the information you provide. Bold designs help to guide the eye to different information and are effective for CVs where you want to highlight skill and experience compactly.

Multi-page designs

Multi-page CV designs are less common for job applicants outside of specific roles. For example, if you're applying for a senior or director position in a company, include an additional page listing your experience and accomplishments. Most potential employers prefer a single-page design to cover all the information required for lower-level jobs.

Creative designs

Creative designs use colourful text, imagery and innovative layouts best suited to design and creativity-focused roles. For example, a graphic designer or photographer may use a creative template to display imagery and show off their skills. If you're applying for a design position, you may also choose to create your own CV, using a template as a foundation.

Related: What is CV design? (With 13 designs to inspire you)

Tips for creating your CV using Microsoft Word

Once you've chosen the template you want to use for your CV, ensuring you fill it out and complete it correctly can make your job application process smoother. The more streamlined and well-edited your CV is, the more practical it is for potential employers. Here are some tips for creating your CV in Word:

Keep it to one page

Unless you have extensive experience or are applying for a senior position, most employers prefer CVs to be a single page. Condensing your skills, education and experience into succinct points can make it easier for hiring teams to quickly understand what you're offering. For example, reducing qualifications to your most relevant or highest-level training can save on room while still providing necessary information.

Name your file for easy identification

Naming your PDF file to be easy to identify is valuable during the job searching process. Employers may receive numerous CVs via email, where misplacement or loss can occur because of the volume of different files. Using your name and the name of the job you're applying for as your CV title and your cover letter can help to prevent your application from getting lost.

Proofread your CV

Proofreading your CV before sending it can ensure you find any mistakes before your application reaches a potential employer. Asking someone else to proofread can help spot any issues you may miss during your own checks. You can also use Word's grammar and spelling features to catch any obvious misspellings.

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