How to Format your Resume for Online Submission

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Writing a resume is hard enough without considering how your information will be viewed. However, ensuring the readability of your resume is an important part of submitting your resume via the Internet. You never know how someone will be reading your resume or how you'll be asked to submit it, so you need to be prepared for anything. Fortunately, there's an easy way to control the format of your resume without losing your mind.

  • Write your resume and make sure it's perfect. It's hard to get your formatting perfect if you haven't already added all of the necessary content.

  • Make sure your resume looks good on paper and on screen. Print a copy to ensure that it pops the same way as it does on your screen. You can't control how someone will view your resume, so make it look good in every way possible.

  • Copy the text of your resume and paste it into a plain text editor. Notepad is the most common text editor for Windows and comes standard on all Windows computers, while TextEdit is the equivalent of Notepad for Mac computers and laptops.

  • Review your resume in the text editor to see what formatting changes have happened due to taking your resume out of your word processor. Look for strange characters in place of apostrophes and spacing problems. This is a necessary step because some companies require you to cut and paste your resume onto their website and the formatting won't come over properly if you just cut it out of your word processor. This is also true if a job site wants you to create an online profile based on information from your resume.

  • Maintain a plain text copy of your resume for future online submissions. Every time you update your resume in your word processor, create a plain text version. This ensures that your updated information can be given to any prospective employer without losing any of your formatting.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you don't want to copy and paste every time you save a plain text resume, you can always select Save As and choose to save the file as a plain text file with an .txt extension. However, you won't be able to immediately see any formatting that didn't carry over, meaning you might forget to review this version of your resume before sending it out.
  • If you ever have to send a copy of your resume via an e-mail attachment or an upload to a website, make sure to send the one you created in your word processor. Plain text is great for copying and pasting, but you should always view your word processor version as your main resume for distribution.

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