Remember when resumes were submitted on quality paper and mailed out to perspective employers? It seems like those days are long gone. Now most employers are only accepting electronic resumes. Unfortunately the old rules of formatting and submission are different when a resume is submitted in an electronic format. Here are some tips to make sure your electronically submitted resume is in a readable format.
The content of the resume should be the same as your hardcopy version. The difference is in how the resume is prepared so that it will withstand passing through electronic software and still be readable by the hiring manager on the other end. Make sure that your resume is still keyword rich in order to attract attention to your skills.
Make sure your resume is free of all formatting. This includes using the spacebar instead of tabs to center text. When you save the document, also make sure it is saved in plain text. To make sure that unnecessary formatting is removed, you should use a format free program such as Notepad, which is usually available on most computers.
Skip the fancy fonts, including bolding your titles, instead use capitals to make the titles standout. It’s best, however, to use these sparingly and only as needed.
Keep the font simple, 12-point Arial usually works best.
Special symbols do not transfer well. Remove bullets, checkmarks and arrows. Asterisks tend to work better on electronically submitted resumes.
Do not use the return key or tab at the end of the line. Instead let lines wrap around on their own accord. Remember what looks fine on your end will look totally different on the receiving end.
Do not use page breaks when preparing your document. Your page breaks may be different from the ones that print out at the other end.
Remember that all of the time and effort used to create lavish, visually appealing documents are lost when resumes are submitted electronically. In fact, depending upon how sophisticated the employer’s software may, your resume may print out as one long paragraph. Aim for content rather than looks. Does this mean you can still opt out of taking simple precautions such as spell check? Absolutely not – submitting an electronic resume means that the focus should be more on your skills.