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Step Three

Step Three: Formatting your résumé

Depending on the situation, you may need to adjust your résumé to fit in a variety of formats.

Traditional Print Résumé
Traditionally, a résumé is printed on high quality paper and mailed to an employer (always bring extra copies with you to an interview even if you sent one earlier).


Web Résumé
A résumé formatted for a Web page uses html code. You can display a Web résumé as part of your Web site, if you have one.


Plain text résumé
Résumés that are sent in the body of an email, posted to Internet databases, or scanned must be converted to plain text.

Plain text résumés cannot display special features such as columns, bullets, underlining, or bold or italic typefaces.

Plain text files can only display the following characters:

  • The letters A through Z, upper and lower case
  • The numbers 0 through 9
  • These punctuation marks:
  • ~ ! @ # $ % ^ & * ( ) _ + - = \ | / [ ] : " ; ' > < ? , .

Before sending a résumé to an employer via email, send it to yourself to be certain it is readable. You may be able to avoid sending a plain text résumé by attaching it as a PDF file instead.


PDF Résumé
The PDF format preserves special features such as fonts, graphics, and colors. You can create a PDF from a Word document by clicking “Save As” and selecting PDF as the file type. If possible, send a PDF résumé as an attachment to an email rather than copying your résumé in the body of the email or attaching a Word document. PDFs cannot be edited by the receiver, so you know nothing will happen to all your hard work!

Read about Step Four: Proofreading your work.

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