Ray’s Resume Tips: Setting Tabs For Consistency & Appearance

Ray Adams is a fellow Career Services Counselor who has a tremendous amount of knowledge about resumes and formatting in Word.  From time to time, Ray will be a guest blogger to share some of his tips.

Using Tabs is an easy way to give your resume a clean, organized and consistent appearance.  It is very easy to do and will make some of your other law school projects easier too.

Many resumes I review have the appearance of a tabbed and organized look, but on closer inspection, the preparer “spaced” the text over to give the text a “tabbed look.”  This is problematic for a couple of reasons.  First, if the fort size or font type is changed, on the next line it will be impossible to line up everything exactly the same by only using the space bar.  As a result, the consistency of the format is compromised.  Also, if the user wants to enter more text or set an indent, the spaced text will shift.

Further, if the document is sent to a potential employer in word format and the employer works with paragraph marks in the document, it will be clear to the employer that the preparer does not know how to use Microsoft Word (P.S.—this is why you should ALWAYS send your resume in PDF format).

Example: Setting a tab on your right-hand margin


  1. Right-click the area of your document where you would like to insert a tab. When the text box opens up, select “paragraph”
  2. On the bottom left of the text box you will see a selection for “Tabs.”  Click on it
  3. Under “tab stop position” you will want to enter the measurement of your right hand margin.  For example, if you are working with 1” margins, you will want to enter 6.5”.
  4. Next, in the same window below “tab stop position” you will see an “alignment” option.  Click the “right” option.
  5. Now, your cursor should be lined up on your right hand margin and when you type your text it should enter from right to left.