Deliver a Perfect Electronic Resume

Posted by The Editors on June 19, 2011
Deliver a Perfect Electronic Resume

How do you create an email resume that will win interviews and influence recruiters? To get started, follow these rules:

Use plain text format. Plain text is the lowest common denominator for electronic text; every Web browser or email program can read it. To create a plain text resume, save it as a text file in a word-processing program. Copy it into the body of an email when you apply for a job. Otherwise, you risk having your resume come out jumbled and unreadable.

Generally speaking, do not submit a resume as an attachment. Although it's easy to attach your resume, many experts recommend including the text of the resume in the body of your email instead.

Recruiters often don't open attached resumes because they can be infected with nasty viruses. It's a risk they don't want to take-so attaching a resume instead of including it in the body of your email is a risk you don't want to take.

One exception: If you are applying to a job online and the company offers the functionality to upload a hard copy of your resume to your application, then go for it.

Limit each line in your resume to 72 characters. Many email programs wrap text around at 72 characters. That means any line longer than 72 characters is going to be cut off and dropped down to the next line, making your resume look like it was hit by a chainsaw. Avoiding that 73rd character will help format the document so it stays organized and easy to read.

Showcase your strong points first.
Newspaper articles include the most important information at the front of the article; the best parts of your resume should be up front, too. Don't make the recruiter scroll down through loads of information before getting to the good stuff.

Run the spell check.
Errors in any type of written correspondence can get you dinged. Don't let the seeming informality of the electronic resume allow you to omit this key step.

But don't let your faith in technology make you complacent, either; spell checkers give all sorts of mistakes the green light. After you do the spell check, proofread it the old-fashioned way several times. Then get a friend or two to do it again.

Take your electronic resume out for a test drive. Email your resume to yourself, because you'd much rather it be you who catches technical problems and errors, not a recruiter. Make sure the text looks right on the screen and prints out correctly.

You might also try emailing yourself at different accounts.Email accounts have different ways of reading things, and you don't want to take any chances that when it reaches the recruiter's account it will look messy.

Include a cover letter.
It sounds like a no-brainer, but many applicants don't include letters with their resumes. Cover letters that accompany electronic resumes should be brief and concise.

Keep in mind that recruiters want you to introduce yourself, they want to see how you write, and they want to see you make a case for why the position they need to fill is one you're right for. Be sure to indicate which position you're applying for, what your qualifications are, and what you can contribute to the company.

Make a backup.
Save a copy of your resume on a disk and on your hard drive so you don't lose it. Also make hard copies on good paper stock. You want to make sure that if your resume gets lost, you can reproduce it quickly.

You also want to be sure that when you're called in to interview, you've got a paper copy that looks good to bring with you. Recruiters love to misplace paper once they've called candidates in to interview, and if you show up prepared with some backups, that's a detail that will count in your favor when it comes to decision making time.

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