Preparing An Electronic Resume
Normally, you will have prepared your resume using a word processing program such as Microsoft Word, Corel Wordperfect or OpenOffice . This type of format print is useful for printing and faxing but when it comes to emailing or posting it on the internet, you have to be careful - it may not turn out the way you expected it! Something else to keep in mind when posting your resume to websites - you need to protect your privacy. Good information can be found at Job-Hunt.org regarding steps you should take to protect your privacy when posting resumes online.
The only time you should email your 'word processed' version of your resume as an attachment would be if the recipient has specifically requested it to be sent in a certain format such as a 'Word' document. Even then you can't be sure whether your formatting will look exactly the same on the recipients computer. You should always provide another alternative, preferably your text-based resume pasted into the body of an e-mail message (see below).
There are 3 popular 'electronic' resume formats used widely today. These online resume formats include ASCII Text, HTML and PDF.
ASCII Text is basic text that you would use in an email message or for posting to a online job board.
The PDF (portable document file) format can be used as an email attachment and is the best option when your resume will be read by a person and not a computer.
HTML is markup language that is used to build web pages.
ASCII Text Resumes are the most widely used format for sending your resume within an email or posting to an online job board. Although not visually appealing as they have been stripped of their word processing formatting, they are made to be 'scanned' into such things as keyword-searchable databases with built-in search engines that many large employers now use. If your resume does not possess these keywords then you will be out of luck. If you are going to submit your resume to online job boards such as Monster.com, you need to make sure that you properly format your online resume in ASCII Text. Avoid copying and pasting directly from your word processing software into an online text box.Converting a 'word processed' document to text document:
Open your completed resume in whatever word processing software you are using (Word, Wordperfect, OpenOffice, etc).
Next, also open up a text editor program found on every computer - in Windows it's known as 'Notepad' (under Start > Programs > Accessories > Notepad), on a Mac it's 'TextEdit'.
Back to your resume which is still open in your word processing program.-Highlight all the text in your document by -
- clicking on - Edit > Select All or
- Using your mouse to run from the top of the file to the bottom
You will now notice that everything selected is 'highlighted' with background colour.
Copy the highlighted text by clicking on Edit > Copy
Return to your text editing progam and click on Edit > Paste
Save - To save as a text document: (the file type will be txt)
- Click on - Save As and
- Name the file resume.txt (or whatever.txt)
Your resume has now been saved in a plain text document format. You will notice that all the 'formatting' previously seen in your word processed version has been removed. You will now need to touch up your resume to make it a little more visually appealing.Keep in mind the following:
- Avoid centering information on the document; you cannot use the 'Tab' key;
- Make sure that all information is left justified.
- Eliminate all bullets and replace with an ASCII Character such as * (asterisk) or - (dash).
- Bold, underlined, italicized text is not possible.
- Make sure that there are no extra tabs or character returns in the document.
- Eliminate the "left-overs" from your print resume (for example, the page numbers and page headings, if you have any).
- Try not to group too much information. Put extra blank lines to draw attention to certain parts of your resume. Put spaces between headings.
Use all CAPS for words that need special emphasis. Since Text Only or Notepad stripped your resume of all bolds, underlines and italics used for highlighting words, use all capitalized letters to draw attention to important words, phrases and headings. For the best overall effect, use all caps sparingly and judiciously.
Don't forget to save as you're making changes!
You now have a text only version of your resume, ready to use in an email or for use to posting online. You still have your word processed version of your resume for printing or faxing!PDF Resumes
This format has become very popular for sending resumes. The PDF (portable document file) was first developed by Adobe. A PDF document will look the same no matter what type of computer you are using, be it Windows, Linux or Mac. Use it if you need to send your resume by email and you are sure it won’t be scanned for 'keywords' (see above text files). It also has the advantage of being invulnerable to viruses.
To view a pdf does require the recipient to have a pdf reader on their computer. This generally comes installed on all new computers. Commonly used is the free Adobe Reader but there are also other free third party pdf readers readily available. Most web browsers are capable of opening pdf documents which you have probably noticed while browsing the internet.
Converting your word processed resume to a PDF:
There are various ways to convert your word processed document (resume) to the PDF format -
There is third party software that can convert various document formats to PDF. Microsoft® Word® has plug-ins. If you are using OpenOffice you can convert your word processed document directly to a pdf. There is also other free software such as pdf995 among others.
There are also 'free' online web sites that can convert documents by simply uploading your document and emailing the converted product back to you within minutes. Once example is PDF online.
You can also 'scan' your document to convert it to a pdf - your scanner must have the appropriate software.
Once you have converted your document to a pdf, the pdf itself cannot be changed (without expensive software). If you need changes, go back to your original word processed document, make the changes there and then convert it once more to a pdf.
Once you have your resume in PDF format, it can easily be attached to an email.HTML Online Resumes
HTML is the markup language used by the web browser to display web content. Some people create their own web pages and post their resumes there. HTML controls the format, fonts, margins, layouts, colors, tables, links and several other items on the web page. For a programmer or software developer, HTML is a fairly simple language, but for the novice it can be difficult to understand. The biggest problem with HTML is that is not really standardized and may display differently, depending on the type of browser used to view the web page. HTML online resumes will also look different, depending on the user's browser settings.General Rules for Online resumes in HTML format:
- Be careful, check your code and view the resume on various browsers
- Tables can be used effectively for formatting the content.
- Stick to common fonts like Times New Roman or Arial.
- HTML Editors, Microsoft® FrontPage® can be helpful in developing HTML resumes.
- Check to see how your resume looks using various font sizes in the browser.
- Check to see how your resume looks using various screen resolutions (800x600, 1024x768, etc)
- The use of Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) can be helpful.