Align Dates and Locations to the Right Using Tab Stops
You know that your resume often serves as your first impression.
As a result, it’s important to pay attention to seemingly minor details (such as how your dates are aligned).
We’ll show you how to perfectly align dates on your resume every single time – without having to hit the “space” bar over and over!
How to Align Dates on Your Resume Using Tab Stops
The easiest way to align your dates is to use tab stops.
In this example, we’ll show you exactly how to do so in Microsoft Word.
Let’s imagine you’re looking to right-align the dates highlighted in yellow below.
Drop the cursor right before the “M” in “March 2016,” as shown in the blue circle.
Open Paragraph Settings by clicking the icon circled in red above.
Under Paragraph Settings, select Tabs.
If you haven’t used them before, tab stops are simply a way to align text with one click using the tab key on your keyboard.
Once you have the Tabs window open, you’ll need to make three selections:
1) Tab stop position
The tab stop position tells Word where you want text aligned on the page. In our example, the right-most position falls at 7.5 inches (see green circle below), so we input 7.5 (as shown in the red circle).
You may need to adjust your tab stop position depending on how big your margins are, however.
Select Right to make sure the text is aligned right, as shown in the blue circle.
This setting will ensure your text is flush right at the 7.5-inch mark where you place the tab.
The leader option allows you to insert a series of dots, dashes, or a line between the “Head of Customer Experience” title and the dates.
While these leaders may work well when creating a table of contents for a report, for example, we’ll select None.
Once you have the correct inputs, click OK.
With the cursor still in front of the “M” in “March 2016,” press the tab key on your keyboard.
Your dates should now be right-aligned correctly!
You’ll know you have a tab in place when you see the symbol in the red circle above.
If you need to adjust your tab, you can double-click on this symbol or simply drag it along the ruler to the desired position.
Repeat the process.
To quickly recreate existing tab stops, you can copy and paste the paragraph with the tab stop onto another line.
Alternatively, you can use the format painter option to apply the same settings to a new paragraph.
Why it’s Important to Align Dates on Your Resume
If your date alignment is messy or inconsistent, it can signal a lack of attention to detail to recruiters.
It can also make them assume that you don’t have a strong command of Microsoft Word, which is expected in today’s hiring market.
Simply put, it’s worth investing a bit of extra effort to avoid the risk of leaving such an impression.
By following the steps outlined above, you’ll not only save time on formatting but also ensure that it is consistent 100% of the time.
If you prefer to start with a resume template that already has tab stops in place, use one of our executive resume templates.
About Resume Pilots
Resume Pilots is an award-winning executive resume writing, career coaching, and outplacement firm. Our previous clients include CEOs and senior executives at the world's leading companies.
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