In order to seek out and apply for the jobs you are interested in, you will most likely post your profile and resume on a job search web site, such as monster.com or hotjobs.com. These search engines allow you to upload your resume in a Microsoft Word or text file format, or create one using their forms.
Outside of the job search web sites, e-mailing your resume as form of application has become commonplace. However, each employer or headhunter has different rules on the file they will accept via e-mail. Most companies will accept an attachment in Microsoft Word – this is why you have to be conscious of the font type and size, as well as margins you are using when composing your resume. If a company is requesting a text file, you should follow these steps to convert your Microsoft Word document into a text resume:
Now that you have converted your file to a text file, make sure to open it and review how the spaces, tabs, and bullet points have transferred over. You may need to do some edits in order to format the resume to fit the file type. Note that the plain text file doesn’t allow for bolding, italicizing or underlining. Make sure that all your text is left justified and that the spacing is correct.
If an employer asks that you include your resume in the body of an email, treat this as a text file when formatting. Copy and paste your whole resume in an email. Keep the font styles basic; use Arial or Times New Roman fonts and keep the size at 10 or 12 points. Adjust all the spacing and bullet points as appropriate. A good rule to follow is to keep the email simple – avoid bolding or italicizing text since you don’t really know the type of email software your recipient is using or if the accept HTML or text emails only.
If you are sending your resume as an attachment, format the body of your email as a cover letter. At the top of the email, include your name and address, as well as the address of your recipient. Typically, the address can be found either on the job listing or at the company’s web site. If you are sending the resume in the body of the email, follow the same guidelines in terms of the email content. Don’t make an assumption that including a resume in the body of an email is the only information you should include in your message to your potential employer. Even if the resume is copied into the email, you still need to let your employer know a little bit more about yourself via a cover letter. However, since you will include your address at the top of the email, feel free to start your resume with a career objective instead of including the heading with your name and address.
Much like proofing is critical in perfecting your resume, testing how your resume is displayed in a body of an email or how it opens as an attachment via another computer is important. Rally your friends or family for help, and send them sample emails with your resume included in the body of the message or as an attachment. This will provide a great opportunity for you to assure that your resume is reaching your potential employers in the format that is clean and professional.