Is Your Resume Internet Friendly?

By Beth Jackson, reprinted from www.CareerBank.com

Resume etiquette is no longer a matter of hand-written vs. typewritten. Your resume, with all of its neatness and perfect grammar, can be your downfall if it’s not properly formatted for the electronic medium. Recruiters and employers are quickly turning to automated, electronic means to receive, process and eventually review resumes. If you haven’t progressed to these new, efficient methods, you might find yourself out of the race.

With the rapidly growing popularity of the Internet, the act of sending a resume is making the look of the document as important as the content. Some employers are requesting resumes be sent solely via e-mail and, in this age of computer viruses, will rarely accept an attachment. Large companies have adopted scanner-based resume applications to scan and store resumes in a single database making character recognition and format a vital necessity. And virtually all companies are searching for candidates via career sites and resume databases. However, there's no need to fret.

Here are a few tips to prepare your resume for e-mail, scanning or Internet posting:

  • E-mailed resumes should be sent as text within the e-mail body; not as an attachment.
  • Use simple font faces (Arial, Courier, Futura, Helvetica, New Century, Optima, Palatino, Times). Avoid using 10-point characters.
  • Use boldface and/or all capital letters for section headings and emphasis, as long as letters don't touch each other.
  • Use only chronological format and left-justification for the entire document.
  • Avoid graphics, symbols, bullets, underlining, shading, slashes, dashes, contractions, abbreviations, maps, boxes, spreadsheets, and photo graphics.
  • Don't use borders or complex tables.
  • Send only your cover letter and resume – no additional attachments.
  • Make your cover letter short and concise.
  • Your cover letter and resume should be separated by a single line of ten '@' symbols.
  • The subject of your mail message should be the word "resume".
  • Use critical key words/industry jargon.
  • Use multiple synonyms for the same skills to be sure your qualifications are found.
  • Use nouns instead of verbs. It is more likely that a recruiter will search for ‘Tax Accountant’ than ‘prepared taxes for corporate office’.
  • Place your name at the top of each page.

A word about ASCII Resumes

Some employers will require your resume to be in an ASCII format. This is easily done by using any word processing application and saving your resume in a text only format. A few things to remember about ASCII resumes are:

Don’t use special characters. Keep it simple.
Don’t use ‘Word Wrap’. Use hard carriage returns for line breaks.
Don’t use special fonts. Your resume will be viewed in whatever font is being used by the employer’s PC.
Don’t use the Tab key. Use the spacebar instead.
Do align your resume on the left side of the screen. Use the spacebar to center text.
Do run a Spell-Check before saving it.
Do proofread your resume before send it to the employer.


AccountingWEB has teamed with CareerBank to provide free resume posting and job search services for AccountingWEB members. Employers can take advantage of a special fee available to AccountingWEB members who use the CareerBank service to search for employees. Check out AccountingWEB's CareerZONE today!

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