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Documents Set For Success and Your CV



 
Set up your documents for success: Heads up

In the past few weeks I’ve looked at a few steps you can take before you start writing (or typing!) to set up the document. These are all designed to save time in the future and ensure that the final document is clear and consistent. There’s one further thing that you can do before hitting the keyboard: set up the headings using Word STYLES.

 
How Many STYLES?

All Word documents have a basic, default style. In the version of Word 2013 that I use there are 17 built-in style sets and 33 themes – according to my calculations that gives you the possibility of 561 different documents, without even thinking of designing your own! The styles are linked with what Microsoft designers consider to be the best matching fonts, sizes and colours. The default style is Office Lines (simple); this is a minimalist look using the Calibri font.

Choose a plain style for academic writing

The great variation in styles and designs provides scope to create a different ‘look’ for all types of documents. It’s very useful when formatting CVs and I covered this in a previous blog post (below). For an academic thesis or dissertation you probably won’t want to use anything too fussy, no coloured lines or shaded titles, so one of the plainer style sets such as Word 2013 (B&W) will suit, or you can take advantage of automatically numbered headings and subheadings with Black & White (numbered). Just roll the mouse along the STYLES in the ribbon for a preview of the look.

As far as I can tell, the old favourite font of academia – Times New Roman – does not crop up in any of the 561 variations. So, if you’re committed to using this font you’ll need to modify the normal text and each of the headings that you plan to use. If this sounds like too much trouble then on the DESIGN tab in the ribbon the theme called View utilises Century Schoolbook, which is very similar in appearance to TNR, or alternatively the Slate theme uses Calisto which is also a serif font.

Three simple steps to set up a STYLE

If you’re set on TNR, or you’d like to design your own personal style, then setting this up is quite simple. Just follow these three simple steps to set up the styles you need for the text and headings.

First, plan how many levels of headings you are going to use. Try to keep it simple. It can be difficult for the reader to follow 1.2.3.1.1.1 and so on. An automatic table of contents will use the first three levels of headings, so if you’re planning to use this option try to keep to this number. (I’ll be looking at using the TOC function in a future post.) For example, you may plan to have three levels of heading: the chapter title, heading 1 and heading 2.


Second, to change the default text style, just use the options on the font tab, and then right-click on the specific style in the style ribbon. I usually type a few words, highlight them, format as I wish and then modify by clicking update to match selection.

Finally, once you’ve styled all the headings you plan to use you might want to save this particular style for use on future documents. Just go to the DESIGN tab, hover on the first pane in the Ribbon and you’ll get a little message telling you right-click to save the current style. You can then name the style and save it as a Word template. It will then be added to the style icons on the Ribbon for future use.

OK, so you’re done for now. The document is set up and you can go full steam ahead with your write-up. Just remember, every time you come to use a heading or a chapter title, click on the relevant icon in the style ribbon e.g. Heading 1 and the wording will be formatted in your chosen style.


 
Using Word Styles to spruce up your CV

One of my most popular PPH Hourlies is proofreading of CVs, cover letters or personal statements. When you are submitting that all important job application it pays to have a second pair of eyes check your text for typos, inconsistency and flow. An attractively laid out, professional CV is your opportunity to create the best impression with a potential new employer. This is where Word Styles can help.

Basic rules

Most careers advisors and recruitment companies agree on the basic rules of CV creation. The document should be no more than two pages long, use a professional font such as Arial, Calibri or Times New Roman, and present information in a logical order. For example: personal statement, key skills, chronological employment history, education, and hobbies and interests. There are plenty of CV templates to download from the internet.

Using Styles

All Word documents have a basic, default style. In the version of Word 2013 that I’m using there are 17 built-in style sets and 33 themes – according to my calculations that gives you the possibility of 561 different documents, without even thinking of designing your own! The default style is Office Lines (simple); this is a minimalist look using the Calibri font which is fine for a business document like a CV. I also like the style called Shaded. Once you have set up the headings and text using Styles you can play around with different looks simply by hovering the mouse over the different styles in the Design tab until you find one that takes your fancy.


 

Applying Styles is easy. On the Home tab you’ll see 16 different styles ranging from the normal text to headings, titles, quotations and lists. Just highlight the text you want to make into, let’s say, a heading and click on the relevant style, or click the style before typing. The styles are linked with what Microsoft designers consider to be the best matching fonts, sizes and colours.
 

Your CV

How can Styles help with the layout of your CV? First, it will ensure consistency. If you use the same style for each heading you’ll be sure that the font sizes and spacing are all the same. This is easier than individually checking the formatting of each heading and paragraph. Second, it’s easy to see what a different style would look like and make different versions of the same document.

Some examples

In the first example below, which is the Dividend theme and the Shaded style, you could use the Heading 1 style for the name and the titles of career history, qualifications, etc., the Strong style for the address and job titles, and Normal style for the running text.


 


 
The second example below shows exactly the same text and style types but uses the Metropolitan theme and the Centered style.





So, you can see that there is lots of scope to change the look of your CV whilst maintaining a professional edge. You can also use some of the more informal styles when formatting personal documents. I’ve recently been gathering together all my favourite recipes and have frittered away several happy hours experimenting with different themes and styles for a personal recipe book.

Liz Brown copy-editor and proofreader - http://www.englishinformerinfrance.com/business/Liz-Brown-copy-editor-and-proofreader



 
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