Electronic Resume – 6 Popular Formats For Electronic Resumes

Your electronic resume… which file format should you use for electronic distribution? Get the format right, or your electronic resume won’t get read.

If you’re sending out your resume over the internet, either via email or as a posting to a job board or company website, you’re sending an electronic resume. There are a number of file formats for electronic resumes that will get the job done, but each has advantages and disadvantages. Here are six of the more common formats.

Electronic Resume Distribution – 6 Popular Formats

The Formatted Resume. Written using a word processing program (most commonly Microsoft Word), this is the traditional resume you see in printed form. While suitable for email transmission as a file attachment, the formatted resume has two potential problems as an electronic resume. 1) The email recipient needs to have the same word processing software application in order to access the attachment and view its contents. 2) The formatted resume sent as an email attachment is vulnerable to viruses. Because of those security concerns, Word or WordPerfect attachments are often not accepted by companies.

The ASCII Resume. ASCII stands for American Standard Code for Information Interchange. This is a simple text format that allows your resume to be read by practically any computer in the world. It’s devoid of graphics and embellishments: no fancy bullets, no bold, no italics. The ASCII resume is quite versatile. It can be sent as an email file attachment, copied and pasted onto the body of an email, or pasted piece-by-piece onto e-forms on job boards, corporate websites and the like. While not pretty to look at, it gets the job done.

The Scannable Resume. This is hard-copy resume in a plain text (or ASCII) format. Most commonly, this resume is forwarded when a company requests a printed resume with the intent to scan the document into their keyword-searchable database. It can be sent by mail or fax. FYI: hard-copy scannable resumes are losing favor in the marketplace as databases are increasingly able to accept resumes directly from email, negating the need for someone to sit around physically scanning documents.

The RTF Resume. RTF stands for Rich Text Format and is easily created from most word processing applications (Word, WordPerfect, etc.) by simply saving the resume as Rich Text (it will have a file extension of .rtf). In RTF, simple graphics and embellishments (bold, italics) will remain intact through the conversion, although more complex enhancements graphs and tables may not. The advantages of an RTF resume? Sent as an email attachment, it’s accessible across computer platforms and regardless of application software. And a resume in RTF file format is less prone to viruses than Word.

The PDF Resume. PDF stands for Portable Document Format. A product of Adobe Systems, PDF has become the de facto standard for transmitting documents over the internet. The beauty of this format when it comes to resume? The file retains all the design elements – interesting fonts, bolds and italics, bulleted lists and the like – normally ascribed to application software. But it is delivered independent of application software. That means recipients of your emails don’t need to have your particular version of Word (or WordPerfect, et al.) on their computer systems to be able to open your attachment. PDFs are accessible on PCs and Macs, and they are considered virtually virus proof. One negative: a PDF resume can’t be sent directly from email into a keyword-scannable database. It will be unreadable. The problem can be circumvented by a little human intervention: the PDF must be physically scanned into the database.

The Web Resume. This is basically a published page on a website. Also called an HTML resume, it’s strength lies in your ability to easily direct Web traffic to the site. Once there, visitors find a resume that can be as feature-rich as your imagination (and common sense) allows. The Web resume does require a host, obviously, and the architecture to publish a page on the Web.

Choose The Right Format For Your Electronic Resume

The method of transmission (i.e. email, posting to a job board) and your intended target (human eyes vs computer software which will be scanning for keywords) will dictate the particular file format for your electronic resume. Choose the correct format, and your electronic resume gets read.

Getting read is a good first step. Beyond that, it will depend upon the talent that went into writing that resume.

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