Creating Your Resume With Google Docs: Career Coach's Playbook

Do’s and don’t of creating a resume with Google Docs, common pitfalls to avoid, and tips to help you get your resume past ATS.

4 months ago   •   5 min read

By Rohan Mahtani
Table of contents

Since your resume is your first impression on potential employers, you’ll want to make sure it’s a good one. Google Docs provides user-friendly resume templates to help you land more interviews.

With an ATS-friendly resume template, you can use Google Docs to edit and curate your resume to showcase your skills, experience, and accomplishments.

In this article, we will give you a breakdown of how that’s done, including:

  • Getting started on Google Drive
  • Choosing an ATS-friendly template
  • Tips to customize your resume template on Google Docs
  • Sharing and saving your resume on Google Docs
  • How to avoid common resume pitfalls on Google Docs

So let’s dive in.

Getting started on Google Drive

Many of us are on Google Drive already, but if you don’t have an account, it’s super easy to get one. Just go to workspace.google.com, click ‘Get Started’ and enter the required information.

Choosing a resume template

Once you’re in Google Drive, click the ‘New’ button in the top left corner, select ‘Google Doc,’ and then ‘from a template.’ Here’s what that looks like:

Google Drive logo in top left corner. Drop down menu on left side when you click new. From top there is a list New Folder, File upload, folder upload, Google Docs highlighted in grey with pop out menu to the right with 2 options Blank document and From a template. Choose from a template to find ATS resume template options.
How to make a resume on Google Docs from a template

What template should I use?

Choose a resume template that is ATS-ready.

Before looking at resumes with human eyes, many companies use Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) to scan resumes for relevant keywords and qualifications.

With the wrong template, your resume could get lost in the ‘pile.’

Download one of our Google Docs Resume Templates to get started. You’ll have the option of opening it in Google Docs.

White background, black text reads FIRST LAST
Technical Program Manager
New York City, NY 10000 • first.last@resumeworded.com • + 1 (212) 123-4567

PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE

RESUME WORDED	San Francisco, CA and New York, NY
Technical Program Manager	2014-Present
Led multi-disciplinary 7 person team to design, develop, and launch online e-commerce store; 
on right there is a link to Open in Google Docs or Open as PDF
How to download one of our resume templates that you can open in Google Docs

What makes a resume ATS-friendly?

An ATS-friendly resume is simple, clear, and easy to read. Images and graphics, and inconsistent formatting make it harder for Applicant Tracking Systems to find the keywords employers are looking for.

For more, check out our recent post How to Beat Applicant Tracking Systems.

Tips to customize your resume template on Google Docs

  • Highlight your relevant skills and experience and incorporate them in multiple areas—Summary, Skills, and Experience. Doing so will help ATS find them better.
  • Organize the information on your resume so that it isn’t hard for hiring managers and ATS to find your relevant skills and experience.
  • Only add current and relevant skills and experience to the job you’re applying for.
  • Search for keywords from the job application to get a sense of what the company is looking for.
  • Ensure the formatting you use in your resume is clear, professional, easy to read, and consistent, with the same font and size throughout the resume.
  • Use bold or italics to highlight important information, rather than lines and graphics. Also, break it up sections with white space to make the resume easy to read.

Here’s an example of how our Clean resume template can be customized to showcase the candidate’s skills and experience:

Clean resume that is ATS friendly. Black text on white background. At top left corner in bold Nick Harrison. Unbolded black text underneath reads Graphic Designer
Bay Area, California • +1-234-456-789 • professionalemail@resumeworded.com • linkedin.com/in/username 
Graphic designer helping companies market and promote their products and services for 6 years. Proficient in using software including Microsoft Publisher, Photoshop, and Adobe Acrobat to perfect images and graphics for websites and ads to align with clients’ visions. 
In bold capitalized letters WORK EXPERIENCE, grey horizontal line. Under in bold senior graphic designer. November 2018 – Present NYC Marketing and Web Design, New York, NYC
3 bullets read ● Led the first major accessibility initiative to ensure new websites were in line with the standards set out by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
● Built new templates for junior staff members to create new designs to match popular themes and relevant topics
●Montored junior staff members on customer service, and design techniques, which increased customer satisfaction rate by 30%.
A customized version of our Clean template resume on Google Docs 

And here’s an example of how our Concise with Summary resume template can be customized to suit your experience:

Ariel Martin
Bay Area, California • +1-234-456-789 • professionalemail@resumeworded.com • linkedin.com/in/username 
SUMMARY 
Certified math teacher with over 10 years of experience teaching elementary and high school students. Designed innovative programming to accommodate students with diverse learning needs.
PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE 
Resume Worded Elementary, New York, NY September 2004 – June 2015 Math Teacher
● Helped students understand and develop new skills by employing creative teaching methods. 
● Delivered speeches at multiple school board events. 
Served as president of the Student Success Advisory Board to support best practices and evidence-based programming.
A customized version of our Concise template resume on Google Docs 

Sharing and saving your resume on Google Docs

Once your resume is done and ready to be circulated, it’s important to save it in a secure location.

To save your resume using Google Docs:

  1. Click ‘File’ in the top left corner.
  2. Click ‘Download’ from the dropdown menu.
  3. Select the file type you want your resume to be in (typically .docx or PDF).
Top of window reads File Edit Insert Format Tools Extension Help. File is highlighted. Drop down menu below file read New Open Make a Copy Share Email Download Rename Move Add Shortcut to Drive
Move to Trash Version History. Download is highlighted and pop out menu reads .docx, ODF, .rtf, .pdf, .txt, .html, zipped,.epub.
How to save your resume on Google Docs 

Your hiring managers will most likely request a PDF version of your resume. But if you’d like to share it through Google Docs, click Share in the top right corner.

Small image of top right side of Google Drive. History icon, comment icon, meet icon, and then share button highlighted in blue.
How to share your resume on Google Docs

A menu will pop up in the middle of the screen allowing you to share it with friends or potential employers. Input their email address to share the Doc.

Blacked out screen with Share popup in middle. Text reads 'share resume' and then blank space to add email address
How to share your resume on Google Docs with a particular person

How to avoid resume pitfalls on Google Docs

Google Docs’ resume templates are extremely user-friendly. Still, there are guidelines to keep in mind to avoid some of the most common resume pitfalls:

  • Do not use an unprofessional email address (e.g. your first and last name, rather than the name of your cat).
  • Do not use any colors, images, or graphics unless absolutely necessary.

If you’re applying for a job that demands creative, artistic, and graphic design skills, however, it may be useful to add one or two examples of your work.

  • Do not add information that doesn’t apply to the job you’re applying for.

ATS looks for specific keywords. If you’re having trouble choosing the right language, check out our Targeted Resume tool.

  • Do not rely on Spellcheck to proofread your resume. The technology won’t find every single grammar error or poor word choice. So before sending it off, ask a friend to do a final proofread to check for any spelling and grammar errors you may have missed.
  • Do not use a template that is incompatible with ATS.

Here’s an example of a resume template that is not ATS-friendly:

Mixed colours, beige on left, off-white or right. On left, picture of person with long hair blowing in the wind and heavy eye makeup. In cursive writing underneath photo it says Rachel Temple. 
bullets with contact info underneath read Contact cutemuffin@hotmail.com +123-456-7890123 Anywhere St., Any City. 
On right, name RACHEL TEMPLE, below that lists other information in mixed fonts and text that reads: Copywriter & Brand Strategist WORK EXPERIENCE then brown line above job title. More text that reads: SENIOR BRAND STRATEGIST Warner and Spencer 2020 - 2022. Assist in managing the company brand portfolio, including oversight of naming strategies, brand name hierarchy, trademark management, and enforcement.
Build systems to triage naming requests and manage creative workflow
Manage documentation of all brand efforts, including naming, design, and visual assets, within our team and across various levels of the organization
Serve as project manager for brand projects
Resumes with fancy formatting, multiple columns, and graphics aren't easily read by ATS

And here’s how to clean it up for ATS:

All black text in Arial font, some bolded, no images. Left Column reads Rachel Temple, Rachel.temple@resumeworded.com, 123 Anywhere St., Any City, +123-456-7890. SKILLS Copywriting, Visual story-telling, Social Media Marketing, ROI Calculations. Product Development, SEO, Marketing Strategy, Branding. On Right black text reads SUMMARY Copywriter and Brand Strategist with over 5 years of experiencing helping companies improve visibility and image with marketing strategies, SEO copywritng, product development, and more. WORK EXPERIENCE Senior Brand Strategist Warner and Spencer 2020 - 2022. Assist in managing the company brand portfolio, including oversight of naming strategies, brand name hierarchy, trademark management, and enforcement.
Build systems to triage naming requests and manage creative workflow
Manage documentation of all brand efforts, including naming, design, and visual assets, within our team and across various levels of the organization
Serve as project manager for brand projects
ATS-friendly resumes in Google Docs are black and white and use common fonts

See the difference?

Google Docs is a user-friendly way to create a well-polished resume using a template. It is, however, only a starting point.

It is crucial to choose an ATS-friendly resume template and then customize it to highlight relevant skills and experience. Keep your formatting consistent. Proofread, and then proofread some more!

As a final step, check out our free Score My Resume tool to get instant feedback.

Good luck!

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