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Personalize a Modern Resume Template in MS Word

Read Time: 11 mins
This post is part of a series called How to Create a Great Resume (Ultimate Guide).
What is the Difference Between a CV vs Resume?
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Final product imageFinal product imageFinal product image
What You'll Be Creating

When was the last time you took a critical look at the appearance of your resume? If you've been updating the same old resume format year after year, your resume could be creating the wrong impression with potential employers.

Even worse, a badly presented resume is more likely to be thrown away. That destroys your chances of even being considered for a position. You can do better. It's time to redo your resume using a modern resume template.

In this tutorial, you'll learn the characteristics of a modern resume. I'll also take you step-by-step through the process of personalizing a modern resume template in MS Word 365. 

What Is a Modern Resume?

Do you know the characteristics of a good resume? Most job seekers do not. That’s why they continue to use outdated and old fashioned formats. A modern-looking resume can help you stand out. Here is a short list of the characteristics of a good, modern resume:     

  • uses professional fonts 
  • has a well-organized and clean design
  • contains current contact information
  • customized for the job you're applying for
  • includes keywords for skills
  • has social media contact information

How to Use a Modern Resume Template with MS Word

In this section you'll learn how to personalize a your resume template in three easy steps. The basic steps to to follow are:

  1. Gather your information.
  2. Download your template.
  3. Personalize your resume.

We’ll look at each step separately. 

Let's start with the information you'll need to personalize your template.

Step 1. Gather Your Information

To make a resume template your own, you need your most current information. Besides your full name, you'll need your most recent:

  • job titles
  • years employed
  • educational accomplishments
  • awards received
  • skills
  • social media contact information

If you're applying for a specific job, make a list of the key words from the job posting. If possible, include them in your resume and on the cover letter.

To make sure you don't miss any information look at:

  • your previous resume
  • your Linked-In profile
  • your professional portfolio
  • your testimonials

Now that you’ve gathered your information, you’re ready to create an updated resume. First, you’ll need the right template.

Step 2. Download the Best Modern Resume Template for Your Needs

Choosing the right resume template can be difficult. You want one that is flexible and easy to update. You want to be able to adjust it quickly for various jobs. We have a great selection of resume templates on EnvatoMarket.

To find the complete selection click the Browse Categories button on the GraphicRiver home page. Select the Print Templates option. Resumes are under the Stationery option: Print Templates > Stationery > Resumes.

After you select Resume from the menu, you get a thumbnail representation of some of the various resume templates available. Here is a look at some of the popular resume templates available in our Best sellers option:

Resume Templates on Graphic RiverResume Templates on Graphic RiverResume Templates on Graphic River
Over 2,000 resume templates are available for purchase on GraphicRiver.

You can sort the resume templates by:

  • newest items
  • trending items
  • best sellers
  • best rated
  • price: low to high
  • price: high to low

You can also specify the date a resume was added or enter a price range.

The Modern Resume Template We'll Customize Today

For the purposes of this tutorial, we've chosen the Resume/CV - Ashley template to customize in Microsoft Word 365. 

Modern Resume Ashley TemplateModern Resume Ashley TemplateModern Resume Ashley Template

We chose the Ashley template because it's high quality and has positive feedback from customers. It also features a clean look with room to include your current skills and your social media links. It's reasonably priced and works with the most popular, current versions of MS Word. It can be used on a Mac or a PC.

To purchase the template, click Add to Cart and go through the quick checkout process. Once you have purchased the template these words appear above the template,

You have bought this item. You can download it here.

Click the hyperlink and the words download it here to download the template. The download includes two folders:

  1.  _MACOSX
  2. bilmaw - Resume - Ashley Files

Under the bilmaw - Resume - Ashley Files there are two subfolders:

  1. Resume - Ashley Files'
  2. Social Icons

 You'll also see the files .DS_Store and a PDF help file titled HELP resume - ashley.

The Help file contains useful details on what is included with the template and explains how you could further customize it.

Install the Free Font

After you've downloaded the template, download the free Raleway font used by the template. The complete instructions for installing fonts are found on page three of the PDF help file. The instructions may vary depending on the type of machine and operating system you use.  

Here is how you install the font on a PC:

  1. Download the Raleway font from Fontsquirrel.
  2. Click the button labelled DOWNLOAD TTF (The button is located at the right next to the name of the font).
  3. Save the file in any folder.
  4. Go to the folder where the file is saved and click on the zip file.
  5. You’ll see variations of the font listed (bold, italic, etc.).
  6. Click on the variation name.
  7. In the dialog box that opens, click Install.
Font Installation in Modern Resume TemplateFont Installation in Modern Resume TemplateFont Installation in Modern Resume Template
Click Install.

Caution: Be sure to open all variations of the font. Each variation, such as bold, italic, etc. must be installed separately.

If you’re working on a machine other than a PC, follow the instructions on page four of the PDF to install the font.

Once you've downloaded the fonts, you’re ready to personalize your resume.

Step 3. Personalize Your Resume

Now let's set up and then customize each section of your resume.

1. Basic Setup

You are now ready to open the template and customize it. Since I am working on a PC, the template is found within the bilmaw - Resume - Ashley Files folder in the subfolder Resume - Ashley Files.

Choose between a template for A4 size paper or US Letter size paper. For the purposes of this tutorial, we are using US Letter (8 1/2 by 11) size. When you click on the paper size you will see the various types of templates available:

  • InDesign CS4-5
  • InDesign CS6
  • Microsoft Word
  • PDF
  • PSD US Letter

For this tutorial, choose the Microsoft Word folder and open the file called resume - ashley US Letter.

To review, the path is: bilmaw - Resume - Ashley Files > Resume - Ashley Files > US Letter > Microsoft Word > resume - ashley US Letter.

Now the MS Word resume template opens. At this point it only shows placeholder information and should look like this:

Modern Resume Template with Default InformationModern Resume Template with Default InformationModern Resume Template with Default Information
Partial resume template file with default placeholder information.

We're going to update the template with information from a fictitious job seeker, Jane Ann Doe. You should fill in your name instead.

First, check to see whether the Raleway fonts installed correctly:

  1. Select any text on the document and right-click on it. A font box should display showing some variation of the Raleway font.
  2. If any font besides Raleway appears in the box, go back and review the instructions for downloading the fonts.
Wrong Font on Modern Resume TemplateWrong Font on Modern Resume TemplateWrong Font on Modern Resume Template
The wrong font appears for this section of the resume.

I always suggest renaming and saving the file. That way, if something goes wrong while you are updating the resume template you can go back to the unaltered template file and start again.

After you’ve renamed the file, you are ready to start entering your own information into your resume. 

2. Customize the Information

You'll notice that the resume is organized using anchored text boxes. Here is how you replace the text information anywhere in the resume:

  1. Click in the text box.
  2. Select and highlight the text you want to change.
  3. Type your information over the highlighted text. 

Tip: To make the text larger, use the MS Word zoom icon.

Microsoft Word Zoom IconMicrosoft Word Zoom IconMicrosoft Word Zoom Icon
This dialog box appears when you click the Zoom icon.

Now that you know how to update the placeholder text in the resume template, you can replace it with your information. Be careful though, not to accidentally move the text box when you update it.

Several sections of the resume template require additional instructions. Let's start with the Resume Summary.

3. Craft Your Resume Summary

Your resume summary is one of the most important parts of your resume. It's often the first thing a potential employer reads. To create a stronger resume summary:

  • Use adjectives to describe your work.
  • Emphasize accomplishments you are proud of.
  • Match the summary to the job ad.
  • Keep it short. Four to five lines is ideal.
  • Don't use the words "I" or "my."

In this template, the resume summary appears under the heading Professional Statement. To adjust the size of the text box, click on the handle and drag the edge of the box.

Modern Resume Text Box AdjustmentModern Resume Text Box AdjustmentModern Resume Text Box Adjustment
The handles appear as hollow dots on the borders of the text box.

Tip: You can also move the graphic lines in the template using the handles on the line.

4. Change Your Social Media Contacts

One of the characteristics of a modern resume template is the inclusion of social media contact information. The Ashley template comes with a special social media contact section. There are also 36 social media icons included as PNG files, which you can use.

The social media contact information appears in the right center of the template under the heading Social.

Social media information sectionSocial media information sectionSocial media information section
Social media information section.

To change your social media contact information:

  1. Click on the information in the text box. The information is then highlighted.
  2. Type over the information in the text box.
  3. Right-click on the icon that you want to replace.
  4. Then, select Change Picture from the pop-up menu.

The dialog box below displays:

Change IconChange IconChange Icon
Select the From a file option.
  1. Select the From a file option.
  2. Click on browse. The fonts are located at bilmaw - Resume - Ashley Files > Social Icons.PNG
  3. When you find the icon you want to use click on it and click on Insert.

The social media icon you selected replaces the previous icon. 

5. Change Your Skills

The Skills section of this modern resume is an excellent place to highlight any skills you've learned on the job or in school. You can also include keywords that are skills.

On this template, your skills appear as a bar chart. The more accomplished you are in a skill, the further to the right the bar goes.

Skills are listed under the Skills heading on the bottom right of the resume.

Modern Resume Skills SectionModern Resume Skills SectionModern Resume Skills Section
Your skills appear as a bar chart.

Here’s how to personalize your skills information:

  1. To change a skill, click in the text box and type the new skill information over the placeholder text.
  2. To change your proficiency in a skill, click on the dark line and drag the handles to the right to indicate that you are more proficient or to the left if you are less proficient.
Drag the line and drag the handles to change your skillsDrag the line and drag the handles to change your skillsDrag the line and drag the handles to change your skills
Drag the handles on the line to change your proficiency level.

Once you've replaced the resume placeholder text with your information, you are ready to begin your job search. Don't forget to also personalize the cover letter included with the template.

Final Modern Resume ResultFinal Modern Resume ResultFinal Modern Resume Result
A preview of the finished resume.

Modern Resume Template Examples

Here is a quick showcase of more modern resume templates and an example resume that was created with each template. Each template includes a matching cover letter.

1. Resume/CV - Blair

Blair is a classic-looking resume updated to include social contact information. It also includes a matching cover letter. It has an attractive, minimal style logo in the upper left corner, making it ideal for freelancers and small business owners. All artwork and text is fully customizable. Multiple format options available, such as INDD, IDML, PDF, PSD, and Microsoft Word DOCX.

Modern Resume Template - BlairModern Resume Template - BlairModern Resume Template - Blair

2. Job Resume Template

This template includes four corporate resumes and a matching cover letter. The large banner will help you stand out with potential employers and gives this modern resume a professional look. Available in InDesign and MS Word formats, as well as Illustrator EPS for graphic components. 

Job Resume TemplateJob Resume TemplateJob Resume Template

3. Two-Piece Swiss Style Resume Set

This simple design makes good use of color and intentional space for an attractive presentation. You can easily change the color to suit your own taste with one click. PSD and Word formats included, as well as Illustrator EPS for graphic components. Includes a resume and cover letter in this template set

Modern Swiss Style Resume TemplateModern Swiss Style Resume TemplateModern Swiss Style Resume Template

4. Sleek One-Page Resume

This resume template has a place for you to include everything. There's even a place for you to include your hobbies. It has a modern and professional look with clean typography. Each heading includes an attractive icon. All popular file format included (AI, PSD, TIFF, INDD, IDML, DOC, and DOCX. Resume and cover letter templates included.

Sleek One-Page ResumeSleek One-Page ResumeSleek One-Page Resume

All of these modern resume template examples can be personalized in MS Word to include your information.


A modern resume helps you make a strong first impression with potential customers or clients. Your resume can mean the difference between getting the job or losing the opportunity. A good modern resume template gives you a quick and easy way to update your resume with clarity and style.

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