PART 1: Google Doc Resume Template Guide
The Google Doc resume template rules I’ve used to land hundreds of projects
I’m a successful freelance writer. But for 10 years I worked for several high-profile Fortune 500 companies and edgy agencies.
During that time I became known as a resume whisperer.
Not only was I able to get almost any job I applied for – and believe me – I switched jobs a lot. But I became an absolute pro at the resume game.
Today I’m sharing my Google Doc resume secrets and resume examples that will give you inspiration.
Which resume tool should I use?
I spent a lot of years messing around with different resume tools.
- Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator
Sure, they can all get you a gorgeous resume. But at what cost? What I mean is that there was always something inconvenient about using any of those platforms.
Microsoft Word is great, if you have the software. But not everyone has Microsoft word on their laptop, and paying a bunch of money for such a basic (and boring) tool was a big NO for me.
Adobe is just expensive, super technical to use, and all around inconvenient. Unless you’re a graphic designer with Adobe already in your life, it doesn’t make sense to use Adobe for your resumes.
Don’t be lured in by gorgeous Illustrator or Photoshop resume templates. Remember, Adobe is inconvenient for 99% of people. Just say no.
Canva is the new kid on the block. It’s an amazing graphic design tool that makes a designer out of almost anyone.
But the problem with Canva is that it only allows you to create resumes in PDF or image format. You absolutely need your resume in a non-PDF format.
Most recruiters and hiring managers demand that you have a text-based version of your resume. So if you only have your Canva resume in PDF format, you’re stuck.
Use a simple Google Docs resume template
When I finally found my magic formula of using Google Docs for my resumes, everything fell into place. I still can’t believe job seekers use anything other than Google Docs for resumes.
That’s why I’m so excited to be sharing this info with you.
Why Google Docs resume templates are the best
- Google Docs Resumes can be cloud-based, so you can access your resume doc anywhere using Google Drive, and it auto-saves constantly.
- Google Docs allows you to create a resume and save a Word Doc, PDF, and several other formats.
- Google Docs easily lets you make a copy of existing documents so you can create several resume variations in minutes.
- You can even access Google Docs Resumes from the Google Docs app on your phone.
- A Google Doc can be bookmarked, so you can quickly access your resume so you can make sure you have access to it at all times.
- You can save anything as a template in Google Docs, so if you create a resume and cover letter you love, save it for future use.
PART 2: Build Your Resume
How to make a resume on Google Docs
First up to create a resume on Google Docs, you need to navigate to your new command center – Google Templates.
It’s pretty cool, actually. Google has templates for many different documents from shopping lists to book reports – even a few cover letter templates for job seekers. We’re focused on Google Docs resume templates for the moment.
How to find free Google docs resume templates
If you didn’t upgrade for access to my magic Google Docs Resume Templates, you can use a free Google docs resume template.
As of writing this, they have 5 simple resume templates available, and while they’re not making me swoon, they are clean and have some tasteful color. They’re a solid start.
Free Google Doc resume template examples
Maybe you’re not interested in a noise-cutting resume. Maybe you know you need an absolutely simple, basic resume example to follow. I have the perfect place for some purely basic resume examples. Google Docs has already created some very simple resume templates.
They’re easy to use and basic. There’s nothing wrong with basic, if that’s what will get the job done.
Resume power words
Because I’m a writer, I’ve always had an edge when it comes to resumes. I know how to phrase things in a way that makes a hiring manager take notice.
If you’re not a writer, I’m giving you resume writing shortcut. This is my list of resume power words. These are strong words that convey confidence and capability to a hiring manager.
This is just a start, but the key is to use strong verbs. Stay away from excess words and passive phrases.
Use results and numbers in your resume
Hiring managers go crazy for results.
If you’re able to say you helped a business increase sales by 13% in one month through your sales techniques.
You’ll be an instant contender.
Think about situations and former projects where you’ve helped make improvements. Can you quantify it?
I accomplished ______ by doing ________
In _____ months I drove __% improvement in _______
PART 3: Google Docs Resume Design
Should you have a colorful resume? How about fancy fonts? You’re going to hear various opinions on resume styling. Some people are realllll sticklers for resume etiquette. They learned the formal way to create a resume or “CV” in college and they aren’t letting it go.
Everything I know about resumes is from trial and error. Because I’m constantly applying for new projects as a freelancer, I have a lot of data about what works and what doesn’t.
So if your’e interested in what Oxford University has to say about the formal resume – go ahead and stop listening to me. Because that’s not the philosophy I follow.
If you want to know about what resume styling techniques helped me land hundreds of projects and over six figures, then follow me, my friend.
Now that I’m a business owner myself, I’ve seen some real font disasters. Sometimes I hire writers and virtual assistants, and I’ve seen absolute font cyclones.
I’m also someone who is aware of the laws of design, specifically clean design. So based on my experience hiring and creating a lot of resumes, here are my font guidelines.
How many fonts
If you have more than two fonts in your resume, you need to simplify. A resume needs to look clear and organized. Too many fonts creates a sense of mess and chaos. If a hiring manager is getting messy vibes from your resume, you’re doomed.
Serif vs. Sans Serif fonts
Huh? No I’m not speaking Latin. You should choose one serif font and one sans serif.
A serif font is one that has a little more ornamentation and design. Think Times New Roman. It has more classy little details.
Sans serif fonts
Sans serif fonts are cleaner, without the artsy details. Typically a sans serif font is clean, easy to read, and modern. Think Arial or Helvetica.
Google fonts for your resume
Since I’m such a Google Docs fan, I always recommend choosing Google Fonts. You can see the full list of fonts Google supports here. There are a ton of great options, don’t worry you won’t be stuck with dowdy Times New Roman or boring Arial.
Listen. I know it’s tempting to pick a trendy font you found on Pinterest but here’s why that’s a bad idea.
Should I use Custom Fonts in my Resume? No! Here’s why:
Google Docs doesn’t let you import custom fonts. Which means you’ll have to use another complicated software. Which could add hours to your process. Trust me, you don’t want to spend hours creating your resume in Adobe or Canva, you want to be able to create resumes fast AF. Google Docs is the place.
Resume Font Legibility
I know, fonts are fun. I can spend a long time luxuriating my way through Creative Market, loving on all those handwritten scripts. These beautiful fonts don’t belong in your resume. You need your resume to be clear as day. Fancy fonts are not legible. Choosing legible resume fonts means a hiring manager won’t have to squint to understand what the heck you’ve written.
Find a Google font pair
To find great Google font pairings – this site is genius: https://fontpair.co/
If a hiring manager can’t read your resume because of fancy fonts? Forget it. That’s a fast-pass to the rejection pile.
Resume color rules
Back in 2011 I was stuck in a job I hated. I had been applying for other jobs for a few weeks with no response. I am very qualified in my industry so this was surprising to me.
So I took matters into my own hands and tried an experiment. I revised my black and white resume and added some color (Gasp! Oxford would never!) I applied to a job with my new, colorful resume. I got a call back the next day and landed the job the next week.
While this is not a scientific experiment, I have found over and over that having color – tasteful color – in my resume is a benefit. I’ve heard consistently about how my resume “stood out” and that it looks really professional.
I usually opt for a medium-bright blue or a teal green. I shy away from anything too aggressive like red, orange, or brown. Make sure it’s not too bright (no highlighter yellow or eye-burning green). I use color prominently in one spot, and then sparingly. If you have access to my Google Docs templates, you’ll see what I mean.
Resume color depends on your industry
- If you work in the beauty industry, you may want to infuse a light pink into your resume.
- If you’re in the fashion industry, experiment with bolder colors.
- If you’re in the graphic design or creative field, use your creativity to stand out.
- But if you’re in middle of the road business roles, opt for a sensible blue or green.
Drafting a resume outline
Can you walk me through your resume and have total confidence that you’ll vibe with the interviewer and land your dream job?
I can’t count how many times I’ve been asked, “what’s the best information to put on my resume? Do it all for me!”
OK, I added that last part, but the gist is the same: People tend to seriously overthink what belongs and what doesn’t matter in a resume.
A super-easy way to break through that kind of “resume writer’s block” is to draft a resume outline.
But always remember this: No one but you will ever see this document!
Seriously, don’t worry about being perfect at this step because it’s never perfect after the first shot.
Don’t even bother with spelling or grammar because you’ll most likely change the outline over and over until it hits right.
Resume outline formula
I sometimes use this simple formula when drafting a resume outline:
- Necessary contact information (including social media profiles)
- Relevant work history
- Education level
- Specific job skills (including soft skills)
- Professional references
I always get asked whether or not it’s a good idea to add a GPA on a resume or a similar accomplishment. The honest answer is that it depends on the job opening.
But we’ll go over how to decide what matters in the next chapter.
Minor considerations like how to align dates on a resume aren’t the most important detail at first.
Be as thorough as you want and write in full sentences because the idea is to get all of your thoughts out of your mind and into Office 360 with some semblance of organization.
A quick tip: Don’t worry about font, line spacing, and formatting at all during the outlining stage. The outline is for you and you alone!
Resume sections and headings
After you make an outline that makes sense to you, the next step is choosing which sections and headings to include in your first rough draft.
Yes, you’ll write more than one version to get it right, so get used to it! Whether you’re writing love letters or resumes, the writing process itself doesn’t change.
The best resume sections and headings need to hit as many industry buzzwords as possible.
Generally, we don’t read closely online. We scan for information.
That’s why it’s essential for every resume heading to appeal to the eye before adding fancy formatting.
At this stage, your outline will be a lifesaver because you’ve likely ordered it in a way that feels natural to your career field.
That flow matters a lot when deciding which sections should go first.
For example, if you’re a web designer, your outline likely focuses on tech-heavy skills and your portfolio.
If that’s the case, then why put education level and work history first? Hit them right away with your best shot, and get to the bottom line up front.
Choose impactful headings, and then simply cut and paste the information from your outline before moving on to visuals like icons.
Selecting eye-catching icons matters more than you think.
You can give the interviewer the bottom line up front in headings, but visuals really hammer the message and give your resume character.
Adding icons to sections and headings makes the resume more effective at getting the message across.
One go-to trick is to use a briefcase icon for your work experience section and a gear or tool icon if you have tech-specific skills.
It’s OK to have fun with icons because it brings out your personality while highlighting the information interviewers actually care about.
Here’s how to write a killer introduction that gets your resume noticed ASAP.
I promise it’s easier than you think!
The trick is to take all of that information from your outline and drafts and boil it down to a concise introduction.
The good news is that writing a killer introduction doesn’t mean that it has to be Shakespeare.
Being straight-up and right to the point is far more effective than fancy wording that doesn’t get your resume noticed.
Once you have an introduction down, impactful headings, and that trusty old outline, the next step is putting it all together.
A quick tip: A resume’s introduction shouldn’t be longer than 4-5 lines, so cut the excess words.
Putting it all together
Now, it’s time to put it all together and make a final version you can be proud of.
By this time, you’ve likely written multiple drafts, which is fantastic! You never want to settle on the first draft.
Notice that nothing in this guide says, “pick a pretty stock template first and then add the information,” because that’s the worst way to do it.
The proper process is to outline, draft, and tweak the substance. Then, consider a template for easier formatting.
Even if you don’t use the template, it’ll give you ideas on how to manually format fonts, line spacing, and even background visuals.
All it takes is careful planning and adding the right visual flourishes without distracting from the substance.
I hope that this definitive guide to writing a resume makes your career search more comfortable in the long run.