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Submitting An Online Resume? 

If youíve used any of the large career boards or browsed the website of a potential employer, you know that submitting your resume via e-mail is pretty much standard practice these days.  But how will your current resume stand up to the task? 

Different companies have different requirements for submitting a resume. Before you send anything, be sure to find out what the company is expecting to receive.  If they specifically tell you to submit a resume as an ASCII text file or as a word processor file, donít send it in any other format.  But what if they donít give any guidance? 

Knowing what to do when the company doesnít tell you anything is important.  In general it makes sense to cover all the most likely bases.  Submit the resume via e-mail, as both an ASCII text and a word processing file. Make sure that you mention this in your e-mail, and give the company all the necessary information for viewing the files.  If you also have your resume on the web as a .pdf file, then by all means include the URL in your post. 

Now what about that ASCII resume?  Itís important to make sure that the information is laid out clearly and logically. Remember, with ASCII you lose all the intelligence that is built into your layout.  Donít just save your Microsoft Word or WordPerfect file as ASCII text and expect it to convey the information as well as it did on paper. 

Some Guidelines:  

  • Use a paragraph at the beginning of the mail note as your cover letter. Opinions vary on the importance of cover letters, but it wonít hurt to include the information. 
  • Group information logically and make sure that your headers are clear and descriptive. Subheadings may not be as obvious in ASCII as those indents and different fonts or sizes were on paper. 
  • Use white space to group information. You did it with tabs, margins and  paragraphs in the paper version.  Now you need to use as many tools as you can to accomplish the same thing in the e-mail document. 
  • Think about including information in the ASCII file that might not have fit in the paper version, but be carefulÖdonít go overboard. The person receiving the resume still has to read it. 
Why an ASCII file? 

If a nicely laid out resume is easier to read, why would companies want you to submit yours as a text file? There are two reasons. First, it eliminates the variability that comes with opening files in a different application that the one in which they were created.  Second, companies receive large numbers of resumes.  Text files are easy to search for keywords when a company is looking to fill a position. Text files allow them to leverage the on-hand resumes as much as possible. 

Remember, your resume is the first chance you have to make an impressionÖthatís just as true online as it is on paper.  The last thing you want is to lose out on a great opportunity because your resume file ended up in the wastebasket.

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