Is your resume formatted for sharing on the Internet? A resume with fancy formatting will not convert well when uploaded to an online resume database. What good is it to share your resume on these sites if the recruiters and hiring managers can’t easily read it? There are steps you can take to ensure your resume uploads cleanly and converts neatly to html.
Microsoft Word is the standard – There are a variety of document formats that are readable by resume uploaders, but the front runner is MS Word. It’s best to save it in the .doc format, even if you have a newer version of MS Word. You can also save your resume in PDF format for uploading, but I recommend just using the original .doc format.
Keep it simple – The simpler your formatting is the better. This means no headers, footers, graphics, or tables. These are not uploader-friendly. You may think those extras make your resume look more professional, but for Internet-sharing purposes a clean upload will look more professional and be easier for a recruiter to read.
More on keeping it simple – I can’t stress this step enough, so I will expand on it further — It’s tempting to make your resume look fancy with columns, charts, nested bullets, images, etc. because you are trying to impress a potential employer. Resist this urge and don’t include anything but plain text. You can use tabs to keep related content aligned. A good check for clarity is to convert your document to plain text and see how it reads (“Save as” plain text *.txt). Then you can save it again as a .doc file for uploading.
Capitalize headings – Putting the headings in all capital letters will help differentiate the sections of your resume. Save caps for just the main headings (EXPERIENCE, EDUCATION, etc.) and use them sparingly so as not to clutter the resume’s readability.
Use blank lines sparingly – When a document is uploaded, blank lines are often interpreted as separation between sections. Use blank lines to separate sections and differentiate job entries, but don’t include blank lines within a single job description as it could appear disjointed when uploaded. If you held different positions within the same company, list each position as a separate job with a blank line between to differentiate.
Be consistent with dates – Include start and end dates for each job you’ve held, and be consistent with the format. Use month and year for the dates separated by a hyphen: May 2001 – Dec 2008. For your current job use “Present” for the end date: Jan 2009 – Present.
Following these tips will optimize your resume for uploading to automated systems. A follow-up article, Part 2: Where to Share, offers ideas on where to distribute your resume online.