Job seekers are relying more and more on the Internet for their job search; the days of reading the want ads over a cup of coffee on Sunday morning are over. Job seekers rely on job boards like and will set up job agents that send e-mail alerts notifying them of jobs that match their criteria. In addition, they’ll post their resumes directly on company Web sites.

With this change in job search tactics, a simple paper resume no longer suffices. Today’s job seeker should consider having several electronic formats of their resume and career accomplishments:

1. A resume in MS-Word format, which can be printed and brought to an interview. It can also be attached to an e-mail when applying for a position.

2. An ASCII version of the resume that is used mainly for sending over the web, for cutting and pasting into a company’s Web site and for pasting into e-mail messages.

3. An e-portfolio or multimedia presentation, especially if you have more information about your career than could be included in a resume. This might include samples of your work, letters of recommendation, or writing samples.

This quarter’s quest article by Louise Kursmark, highlights the keys to preparing an electronic resume for the online job search.

Please feel free to e-mail me if you have any questions.


The Electronic Resume: What it is, why you need one, and how to use it

By Louise Kursmark, MRW, CPRW, JCTC, CEIP, CCM Author of 15 resume and career books, including Sales and Marketing Resumes for $100,000 Careers, Cover Letter Magic, Executive Job Search for $100,000 to $1 Million + Jobs, and the Expert Resume series from JIST Publishing

An electronic resume is nothing more than your traditional resume converted for your online job search. It’s easy to prepare one, and once you do you’ll find many opportunities to use it.

Here’s how to create an electronic resume, in five easy steps.

1. WRITE AND FORMAT YOUR RÉSUMÉ. It all starts with a well-written, accomplishment-rich resume that clearly identifies who you are and what you have done that will be of interest to employers. Even if you plan to conduct most of your search online, at some point your resume will be read by a “live” person, and it’s essential that it contain the right information and create a strong and positive impact.

Your format, too, should appeal to human eyes. Make your document readable, and be sure that key information can be captured in a quick 30-second review.


2. NOW, CONVERT TO TEXT. Use the “save as” feature of your word processing program to create a text-only file. After choosing “save as” (in the “Edit” menu), use the pull-down menu to select “text only” format. Microsoft Word will place a “.txt” file extension after the document name.


3. CLOSE THE FILE. Let your computer do most of the work for you! When you close the file, be sure to say “yes” to all the prompts so that the file saves in text-only format.


4. RE-OPEN THE FILE. You’ll see that all of your fancy formatting has been stripped out, fonts have been converted to Courier, and symbols and bullets have been replaced by “typewriter” symbols such as *, #, ?, and others. Don’t be alarmed; this is exactly what should happen.


5. REVIEW AND MAKE MINOR ADJUSTMENTS. It’s a good idea to add in extra blank lines between paragraphs, replace question marks with asterisks or other symbols, and in general add white space to improve readability.

Now, with your new text file, you’re ready to use it in ways like this:

  • Paste it into online applications. If you use the traditional formatted file and just “cut and paste,” you’ll find that many formatting glitches mar the appearance and perhaps the readability of your resume. Your text-only version solves this problem.
  • Send by email when you can’t or don’t want to send an attachment. Again, to avoid glitches, it’s better to cut-and-paste the text version into your e-mail window rather than the formatted Word version. Keep in mind that what you see on your screen might not be the same as what others see. The text version, on the other hand, is a universal format that will not change according to the software or operating system used by your recipient.
  • Print and use when and if a “scannable resume” is requested. The need for this format is diminishing as electronic resumes become commonplace, but you might run into such a request from time to time. Your text resume is 100 percent scannable.

Note, it’s not necessary to create a separate “keyword” section for your electronic resume. The important keywords should be embedded in the text as you discuss your experience, education, and accomplishments. Resume-scanning software will pick up these words wherever they appear in the document.

And finally, no matter how quick and easy it is to apply for jobs online, be sure you spend most of your time reaching out to people you know (and can get to know); it’s a proven fact that most people find their jobs through network contacts, not through ads, postings, or online applications.


Online Advice and Tools


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Randi’s Recommended Reads

e-Resumes by Pat Criscito

This is an excellent comprehensive overview of the online job search and includes details and specifics on how to format different electronic versions of your resume.

e-Resumes: Everything You Need to Know About Using Electronic Resumes to Tap into Today’s Hot Job Market (Paperback) by Susan Britton Whitcomb, Pat Kendall


About Aspire!

Aspirations! is written and compiled by Randi Bussin, a career counselor and entrepreneurial consultant with 25 years of experience of corporate, nonprofit, and entrepreneurial expertise. She leverages her extensive background to help mid-career professionals and entrepreneurs clarify their aspirations, develop the “big-picture,” and set realistic goals in designing a career that reflects their personal values and passions. Through focused coaching, she helps clients make steady progress and achieve their career goals.

If you would information on our services, please feel free to e-mail us at


Have You Ever Tried to Negotiate a Different Work-Life Arrangement with Your Employer?

If you answered “Yes,” we are interested in learning from your experience.

A research team from Babson College (Profs. Elaine Landry and Danna Greenberg and Research Fellow Alex Gasik) is conducting a study of the issues women face when they try to change their work-life arrangement-be it to better balance family demands, respond to personal/family illness, or to have more time to pursue other life interests, etc. We are interested in hearing from women who have had both successful and unsuccessful experiences negotiating such changes as a flexible work week, working from home, working part-time, etc.

If you, or a colleague, would like to participate in this study, please contact us via e-mail at We will then send you a link to our confidential Web-based survey.

As a thank-you for participating in our study, we will have a research report available for all research participants. Please contact either Danna (781-239- 5557) or Elaine (781-239-5131) if you have any questions about this research.


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