The internet is full of resume templates, ranging from free to professional templates with both ugly and great ones in each category. While there are also templates for Google Docs available, there is no better feeling than creating something from scratch and on your own.
Regardless of what you may have heard, Google Docs has plenty of features to make beautiful, modern documents with. It's the perfect too to use to build your next resume with.
In this tutorial, I'll show you how make a resume in Google Docs with a professional design. We'll make a great looking resume from scratch, and cover an easy to follow workflow from start to finish. Before we begin, you can preview the final resume design that we'll be creating.
Do note that since Google Docs is a web app, you'll need to be online in any modern browser—I'd recommend Google Chrome—to complete this tutorial.
1. Start Your Google Docs Resume With a Header
To create a resume with Google Docs, first open your internet browser and go to https://docs.google.com. If you do not have a Google account, you will need to create one—it's free, and will just take a few seconds to signup.
Once you're signed in, open Google Docs and start with a new blank document (File > New > Document). If you plan to print this document later, it may be a good idea to select File > Page Setup and set the paper size to A4 or Letter depending on your location. The difference in the actual size is quite minor, but it can cause problems when printing. You can keep the margins default to 1 inch on every side.
When designing this Google Docs resume, we will go from the top to the bottom of the page, which means that the first thing will be the header. It will include your name and the address (and optionally other contacts such as email, your personal website, or social media profiles like Twitter).
We want to have the name and the address next to each other, Google Docs supports up to three columns in a document, but for this resume project we need more. Just like in the good old days of early web design, we will use tables to accomplish this task
Select menu Insert > Table and select table size 2x1 as shown on the screenshot below.
Right after inserting a table, grab the middle divider between the cells and move it more to the right to make the second column much smaller. The actual size is not that important as we will most likely tweak it later.
Type the name into the first cell, and the address into the second one. Select both cells and change the font to Droid Sans from the font drop-down menu.
It would be great to have your name in some more distinctive font, but the default list is intended for body text. To gain access to more fonts, open the font dropdown menu again and select the More fonts option.
On the drop-down menu that opens, the list of available fonts is much larger. Select, for example, the Arvo font, and click OK to add it into the font drop-down menu.
With so many nice-looking fonts, you may want to add more than just one, but remember that it is better to keep the font count to a minimum. For our resume, two fonts will be enough—one for the heading and one for the body text. We can still use different sizes, colors, and bold or italic variants.
Change the font for the name to the Arvo and increase the size to 30 pt from the font size drop-down menu.
To make the second line more visible, set the font to Arvo as well and make it Bold. Now both lines have almost the same width, which looks nice. Note: You can tweak the font size to get it perfect for your name and title though.
Since we already have text in a second cell, we can change its size so that the right edge of the text is aligned with the right side of the page. This will create a visual guideline even when we get rid of the table borders later.
Now select the whole table, and then select Table > Table properties.
In the dialog box, set the Tableborder to 0 pt, to make the borders invisible.
Here is how our Google Docs resume looks so far. We have two columns of text:
Let's continue with how to make a resume on Google Docs, moving on to design additional sections of your resume.
2. Insert a Horizontal Line Divider Below the Header
To visually separate the header from the rest of the page, we'll now add a divider. We can simply select Insert > Horizontal line, but there is no way to customize this line. We have to use a different method instead.
Here's another method of how to make a horizontal line in Google Docs. Instead we'll select Insert > Special characters, and select Geometric Shapes.
This section contains a lot of characters for creating tables which we will use later, together with lines in various widths. Select symbol Lower One Eight Block, click Insert, and copy paste this character using the Ctrl-C and Ctrl-V shortcuts to fill the entire line.
Once you have enough symbols, select them and change the font color to Light Cornflower Blue 1 from the color drop-down menu. Try to remember this colors name, as we will use the very same color for the more elements later.
3. Insert Your Google Docs Resume Body
Now we'll move onto the next step of how to make a resume in Google Docs and focus on the body. For the body of your resume, we also need two columns. The technique is still the same—select Insert > Table and set it to 2x1 size.
We do not want the table to affect the margins. Select Table > Table properties, and in the dialog, set the Cell padding to 0. This way we still get two columns, but no extra space around from the inside.
4. How to Add a Work Experience Section
Keep the text cursor in the first cell of the newly created table, and add another table inside this table. This table will be used to display your work experience. Select Insert > Table, and this time, set the size to 3x4 cells. Why this size?
The three columns will be used for each work experience to display year, helper graphics and an actual text. We need four rows for four different jobs. You may create more or less rows depending on your needs.
As you can see below, we have a smaller table inside a larger one. Before adjusting this small table, it may be a good idea to add a caption. Simply type the word “Experience”, and change the font to Arvo, sized 14 pt.
If you already have your resume text prepared, you can copy and paste it into this table. If not, it may be a good time to think about what to include in your Google Docs resume. From resume design templates to step-by-step guides of what to include on your resume—our Envato Tuts+ series on creating resumes has plenty of tutorials to help.
In some rare cases, you may have your old resume printed without the source file available. In that case, be sure to check the tutorial:
When typing or copying the text, the first column should contain the time period and the third column should be filled with the description of the work.The middle column should stay empty for now.
As usual, select the whole table, then Table > Table properties, and set the Cell padding to 0. This way there will be no extra space inside, but we still have three columns of text.
Drag the borders in between the cells to make the right column as big as possible, to make sure we keep the whole table only on the first page. The middle column can be quite small, as shown on the picture below:
Now it's a perfect time to look at the middle column more closely. We want to have a timeline, with a marker for each date. The timeline should be made of lines, where the markers could be big plus symbols.
Google Docs allows you to insert a drawing, but we would have to update it for each cell, since they have different heights. A much better solution would be to use special symbols. Select Insert > Special characters.
In the dialog box, select Geometric Shapes, and locate the line and cross symbols. Insert them into the middle column—if you look closely at the screenshot below, the text cursor is in the middle cell.
Keep only one instance of the cross symbol, but copy and paste the line multiple times until this middle cell is larger than the right one. To have the lines without any additional spacing and next to each other, select Line Spacing and set it to Single.
If you have very small gaps between the lines, they are caused by the different font renderings. They will not be presented in a final PDF file. However, they do not look good in here. One way to solve this issue is to select those symbols and set them to Bold.
As mentioned above, keep in mind that the visual appearance of the final PDF file may look slightly different than what you see on the screen. Those tiny gaps between the lines are a perfect example.
If you want to be sure the resume output file will look perfect, you can quickly export a .pdf file using File > Download as > PDF Document and check the visual appearance during the creation. What's great about a PDF file is that it will look exactly the same on any device, using any viewer application.
Our timeline looks good, but it's maybe too visible. We can select all the line symbols, and change the color to light gray, using the text color drop-down menu.
Once we are satisfied with the result, we can copy and paste those symbols into all cells in the middle column. Using a menu on the top, set a Center align for the middle column, and a Right align for the left column.
For the first line of each work experience, we can change the font to Bold Droid Sans and set the same blue color as we have used for the divider on the top of the page.
Here is how our Google Docs resume looks so far. We keep the borders of the tables visible to make the editing easier, but once we're done, make them invisible just like we did for the header.
5. Insert a Right Column For Your Education and Profile
It looks like we still a bit of work ahead, but the right side will be much quicker, as we'll reuse some parts already created. Now select the whole left part of the table and copy it into the clipboard using the Ctrl-C (Command C on a Mac) shortcut.
Move the cursor into the right cell, and paste it using the Ctrl-V shortcut.
Change the label above the table to “Education”, and insert or type in the appropriate data. In our example, I have used only the first two rows. For that reason, I have selected the content of the other two rows, and deleted the text using the Delete key. However, the cells are still there.
Keep the rows selected, and select the Table > Delete row function.
Finally, we can copy and paste the caption above the table one more time, change it to “Profile” and add some plain text as shown below:
6. Add a Space in Between the Columns
For this step in how to make a resume in Google Docs we'll add another section and fix a spacing issue.
Looking at the Google Docs resume preview above, you may realize that the space between the work experience table and profile text is very small. It would be great to know this right from the beginning, but even now, the update should not take a long time.
Place the cursor somewhere over the “Experience” label, and select Table > Insert column right. Warning: do not be scared, this will temporarily ruin the layout, as we'll cover how to fix that.
We indeed have three columns, but the middle one is too big and the other two are too small.
Drag the borders on each side of the middle column to make it smaller, just like shown in the picture below (now everything looks perfect.):
Select the work experience table, and select Table > Table properties. In here, set the Table border to 0 pt to make it invisible. Repeat the process for both the education table and the main table.
7. Add a Divider on the Bottom of the Page
The very last touch is to add a thicker divider on the bottom of the page. This time we'll use a different method.
Select Insert > Table and select table sized 1x1 cells.
Open the table properties, set the Table border to 0 pt, Cell background color to blue and Cell padding to 0.
To change the table height, simply adjust the font size inside this table. Make it as small as possible, which is 6 pt. You may have to type 6 into the font box, since the drop-down menu options start at 8.
And that´s it! Zoom out your document to see the whole page and double check everything:
8. How to Export the Document as a PDF File
Once you are satisfied with your result, name your document. Then, select File > Download as > PDF Document, and save the file to your computer.
Or, if you'd rather export in other formats, check out our tutorial:
If you do save the resume in another format, though, be sure to open it on your computer to make sure it looks the same as it did in Google Docs. To discover which resume format is best, review the Tuts+ article:
The second option is to directly share the file which you have created. For more information about this topic, be sure to check the tutorial:
With a professional resume design in hand, now all that's left is to send it off to the employer of your dreams. Good luck on landing the new position you apply to.
Now that we've explained how to make a resume in Google Docs, you're ready to go.
The tutorial ends here, but you should not. Try to experiment a little bit. What about using a different font, colors or dot symbol instead of the cross? Those changes can make your resume unique looking, and they are very easy to do. Go for it and be sure to post your creations in the comments!
Editorial Note: This post was originally published in 2014. It has been comprehensively revised to make current, accurate, and up to date by our staff—with special assistance from Laura Spencer.