Formatting Your Résumé

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Your Résumé Needs to be "Tweaked"

Résumés presented online are slightly different than standard paper résumés. In short, they need to be tweaked so that they display properly in a web browser or when sent via email. There are several good reference books on how to effectively write a résumé for presentation in an online environment. I refer you to the SA JOB NET Bookstore for a list of books on resume writing (check out the ones about electronic resumes). There are also several helpful web sites about resumes that you might find interesting.

Some Formatting Tips

Here are a few tips for creating your electronic résumé in plain ASCII text (non-HTML) format:

  • Use asterisks (*), a hyphen (-), or a small letter "Oh" (o) for bullets
  • Don't use tabs; use the spacebar for spacing and alignment
  • Use hard carriage returns at the end of each line
  • Use a mono-space font such as Courier New
  • Set your margins to no more than 6.5 inches
  • After saving your electronic résumé, review it in a plain text editor, such as Windows Notepad, before sending it. This is especially important if you use a word processing program to convert your résumé to plain text format. Sometimes the converted product does not quite turn out the way you might like, so reviewing it first is important.
  • With your text editor open, select your resume and copy it into your email program, then send it to yourself in plain text format to see how it will look.

Got another tip I overlooked? Please let me know and I'll be sure to give you credit!

Proper Formatting Is Your Responsibility

Résumés submitted to the SA JOB NET should be in plain ASCII text format only!

For résumés submitted as ASCII text files, please review them in a plain text editor to see how it looks before sending it. See the formatting tips above. If you use Microsoft Word for Windows as your text editor, here are instructions on how to properly format your file.



Formatting Your Résumé
With Microsoft Word

Here are instructions to help you properly format your résumé in plain ASCII text if you use Microsoft Word for Windows as your text editor. If anyone would like to submit formatting instructions for another word processor (like WordPerfect), please do so and we'll give you credit!


  1. Start your Word program
  2. If you already have your résumé saved as a Word formatted document, open the file in Word, else open a new file and draft your résumé.
  3. Set your page margins to one inch on the left and right. This will make your document 6.5 inches wide in the text area.
  4. Select the entire document and then:
    • change your font to Courier New (or any other monospaced font type)
    • change the font size to 12
  5. Perform any reformatting required to make the document look like you want it
  6. If you are using bulleted lists in your résumé, consider changing the type of bullet to an asterik rather than an acutual bullet, diamond, or box shape (else you will need to replace these manually after the file is converted to text; using asteriks as bullets will convert fine)
  7. Select "File|Save As" under the File Menu option
  8. In the dialog box, under the "Save File as Type" option select "MS-DOS Text with Layout" (this will save the file with the layout of your original document preserved)
  9. Be sure to either type in a different file name, or choose a different file name extension, such as .txt, so that your original Word file won't be overwritten
  10. Click on OK
  11. Close the file ("File|Close" under the File Menu)
  12. A dialog box will pop up asking you if you want to save changes to your file; choose Yes, then when the next dialog box pops up click on the "Save as MS-DOS Text with Layout" button.
  13. Using a text editor (Not Word again) such as Notepad or Wordpad, call up the file you just saved. Look at the way it displays, making minor adjustments as necessary, until it looks the way you want it. Note that sometimes blank lines are lost in the conversion when you save a Word file as text, so you may need to re-enter blank lines.
  14. Once you have performed any other required formatting, save the file again (choose the type TEXT if you are using Wordpad).



Now that you have formatted your résumé the way you want it to look, and with your file still in the edit window of your text editor, select the entire document. Then copy it to the clipboard. Now paste this into the text box on the job application page to send it to the employer.


Chuckles - Job Interview

Reaching the end of a job interview, the Human Resources Person asked a young engineer who was fresh out of MIT, "What starting salary were you thinking about?"

The Engineer said, "In the neighborhood of $125,000 a year, depending on the benefits package."

The interviewer said, "Well, what would you say to a package of 5 weeks vacation, 14 paid holidays, full medical and dental, company matching retirement fund to 50% of salary, and a company car leased every 2 years -say, a red Corvette?"

The Engineer sat up straight and said, "Wow! Are you kidding?"

The interviewer replied, "Yeah, but you started it."


Source Unknown


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