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 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 Online Resumes

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, 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:
  1. Open your completed resume in whatever word processing software you are using (Word, Wordperfect, OpenOffice, etc).

  2. 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'.

  3. Back to your resume which is still open in your word processing program.-

    Highlight all the text in your document by -
    1. clicking on - Edit > Select All or
    2. 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.

  4. Copy the highlighted text by clicking on Edit > Copy

  5. Return to your text editing progam and click on Edit > Paste

  6. Save - To save as a text document: (the file type will be txt)

    1. Click on - Save As and
    2. 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:

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 -

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: