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Resume Vehicles for the Online Job Market
By Pat Kendall, NCRW

Whether you've been at it for awhile or are just starting an online job search, you may have some nagging doubts about your resume. Is it up to par? Does it include the right keywords? Will it get employers' attention? On top of that, the Internet has complicated things further by spawning multiple electronic resume genres:

If you want to actively promote yourself in the wired job market, you'll need to learn what kind of eletrinic resume file (in addition to MS Word) will work most effectively for you.

ASCII Text Resumes: The Ugly Duckling

ASCII (pronounced Ask-ee), is non-formatted, "universally-compatible" text – the format of choice for large companies that process resumes electronically. Many employers who post online ads specifically ask for ASCII (or plain text) resumes. If you ignore a company's request – and try to circumvent the system by sneaking in the MS Word version of your resume – your qualifications may never be seen by your intended audience.

In short, ASCII resumes' compatibility with electronic resume processing systems make them very desirable in "high volume" arenas where speed and ease of processing are more important than aesthetics. On the downside, ASCII's complete lack of visual appeal may seem counterproductive in situations where image and design are part of a candidate's stock in trade. However – and this is critical – when employers request a text resume, send them a text resume and don't fret over its appearance. Remember, everyone else's ASCII resume is ugly too.

ASCII Text Sample

PDF for Printing

Portable Document Format (PDF) looks exactly like your original word-processed file. Unlike word-processed resumes, PDFs are compatible with all computer systems and printers with no formatting glitches.

However, PDFs cannot easily be edited or modified. While their use is increasingly common in job searching, PDF files can only be viewed by those who have a (readily available) PDF reader.

    • PDFs can be downloaded and printed from a web resume or online portfolio
    • PDFs can be attached to e-mail (send only when requested)

Whether you need a PDF-formatted resume will depend on several factors. You will need this format if 1) potential employers ask for it, or 2) your recipients are have difficulty opening your MS Word file.

Caution: Do not send a PDF file unless an employer specifically requests it.

HTML: Keyword-searchable Web Page

For job seekers who want their resume to function as a personal marketing tool or a visual showpiece, an attractively-designed Web-resume (formatted like a web site) is worth considering. HTML offers a plethora of color, design, and navigational features that are not available with traditional formats.

Of course, no one can predict what the future will bring, or what new forms resumes may take as technology evolves, but one thing is for certain... Resumes will continue to evolve along with the technology-driven job market.


Your resume – and any additional information you provide on paper or through consultation –
is considered confidential and private. Names, addresses, and e-mails of clients
and prospective clients are "private" and not sold or traded.



.Pat Kendall, NCRW
© 2015, Pat Kendall, NCRW
All Rights Reserved